Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Neat Little Boxes of Euphemisms

Collateral Casualties. It’s a nice, clean definition for the death of innocents in the addition to that of soldiers, guerillas, insurgents, and terrorists. There have been many in this war, and the general consensus is that they are unavoidable. The question is, though, does the term have any real meaning for the people stuck in the brutal reality of this or any other war?

I had a moment of insight coming back from a relative's house, when Ir realized during a conversation about the subject that the term "collateral casualty" constituted a mental block on the subject, one that revolved around our view of what an intended target was. If you're dropping a bomb on a building, and can expect a certain number of civilians to be there on a given day, are you not at that point responsible for the deaths and injuries that occur there. Doesn't it become somewhat intentional, given the fact that you've decided to drop that bomb knowing civilians are likely to die because of that?

I won't argue with those who say that we go out of our way many times to minimize civilian casualties. I believe we do . We don't deliberately destroy population centers, we use precision weapons instead of carpet bombing. Yet when we do drop one of those bombs, however focused that attack is, we are choosing to inflict harm on anybody close enough to that target to get caught by the explosion and debris. We are responsible for that.

The kind of denial our concept of collateral casualties in air campaigns (and to a lesser extent, ground) bring to our approach to dealing with a war's effect on the populace is perhaps the worst casualty of them all. There's this sort of sense of dropping bombs on people for their own good, and priding ourselves on being so selective, we forget that the pain and suffering, while less widespread, is still there. Moreover, without our concept of collateral casualties, the survivors of such attacks will not necessarily make a distinction between our targeting of the terrorist leader or baathist holdout, and our targeting of them.

Some will take that action as motivation for action of their own, action against us. If a community ends up suffering under our attacks again and again, we will produce a significant number of folks who see us essentially as an enemy, and our talk of collateral casualties will fall on deaf ears.

Even in a good war, this will be the way things are. This was most likely the sensibility for Germans and Japanese civilians suffering under our attacks, and the civilians among the allies thought the same about German and Japanese attacks.

In WWII though, we did not act like people shouldn't take offense to the collateral casualties. We understood we were at war, who was attack whom, and why. There was no distinction made between Hitler's regime. In the occupation of Germany after the war, nobody thought twice about simple sitting on Germany with a bunch of soldiers once we had taken the territory. We weren't afraid of looking like occupiers. We knew damn well that we were, and we played our part. In Iraq, we not only make a false distinction about the casualties, we have made and are still making the mistake of not seeing ourselves for what we are: an occupying force, from the very beginning. We are trapped in our illusions, tied up with bows in neat little boxes of euphemism.

The big mistake in Iraq was thinking that people were supposed to be thankful when their nation become a war-zone, especially after the collapse of law and order that our failure to plan right brought on. The big mistake, even now, is not acknowledging that the extended nature of the campaign, the longer it draws on, is only serving to make winning this war more difficult and problematic. Securing Iraq and ending the fighting altogether was of the essence. Only by preventing such escalation could we have prevented the Insurgency, in whole or part.

Now, though, things aren't so simple. The insurgency has shot the glass, and like John McLane in Die Hard we're running across that, trying save Iraq, save civilians, and fight a war in their very backyards all at once. The armchair generals whose formative experience was the political aftermath of Vietnam, though, are refighting the war, trying to make a virtue of our perseverating and procrastinating in this conflict with Bush's strategy.

They have misread history. With Vietnam, most natives never distinguished themselves as South Vietnamese, Their armies never came together as anywhere near as cohesive a fighting force as ours, and they never got that sense of common destiny as South Vietnamese. When we withdrew, things got worse for them. When we fully withdrew they lost. Some on the Right might argue that this was proof we should have kept at it, but kept at what? Continuing to fill in for an undermotivated nation, while making war in their backyards? People wanted piece, they wanted unification, and they wanted us out, ultimately. We overstayed our welcome by a number of years. Remaining there was not doing us any good, economically, politically, or military.

Remaining in Iraq, regardless of what outcome we desire, is not doing our nation any good either. Whether we desire victory or desire merely to leave before this war costs us more, either resolution will have most, if not all of our soldiers in Iraq pack their bags and go home. All things considered, I favor an orderly departure with the job well done, rather than a hurried, hasty, ill-planned retreat made necessary by a failure in our economy, or a military crisis elsewhere. That, however, I feel, is an opportunity that's going to leave our grasp sooner rather than later.

In the end, to begin our withdrawal is the fundamental test of whether we have truly won, not our ability to last another year, two years, or four. If we plan on putting ourselves through hell we could probably show the world how manly we are and how we'll never let the terrorists win. The truth is, though, the true definition of victory in Iraq is the same as it was in Vietnam: Can we leave the nation to its natives, and have it endure as a Democracy?

We can pretend this war is about fighting terrorists if we want to. Then all the unrest is simply about defeating the terrorists. But that part of the war is merely spin, to cover for the fact that we failed to secure the territory we invaded, and invited the threat in and emboldened it through our failure. The Republicans would throw a lot of nice words around as to how any talk of leaving would embolden them, but the truth is our presence in insufficient numbers has already done that, and serves as a recruiting tool for those who want to maintain this situation, creating a training ground for the terrorists who will go after our allies and ourselves next.

The good news is that Iraq wants to be a nation. It doesn't want partition, it doesn't want to go back, as a whole to Baathist days. The problem here is that our continuing presence in inadequate force is weakening that day by day. We have to face up to the truth here: We should no longer be in Iraq to stay, but we should be concentrated on getting this nation together and leaving it. The Iraqi army and the police forces of the different areas need to wean themselves off our assistance, and become the law, order, and defense for that nation. This should be our commitment. This should be our aim.

No more pretty words about proving how tough we are to our enemies. We withdraw and yield power to the Iraqis. If they fumble at first, we help them, but we help them to get them back on track, not to return to the former status quo. We continue in our withdrawal until the last soldier is out. If we have done our job right, Iraq should stand on its own. If we have not, then we at least have the reality to face and the lesson to learn. It should not be a divisive lesson that scapegoats a bunch of people, claiming they stabbed the war in the back. That attitude led Republicans to aggravate the political divisions in the war, making it harder to win. It should not be that moral support is what wins wars; we didn't win that way in Vietnam, and it won't win Iraq for us. That attitude also lead us down the dangerous path of division, as we tried to force skeptics to support what they had no agreement with by emotional blackmail, which only functioned to divide people further.

If we have lost, the lesson we should draw is that those who do not prepare the battlefield properly for the war are bound to lose it, and those who hide the realities of war behind politics and pretty words do that war a great disfavor. We will win by understanding things for what they are, not by building elaborate fantasies about what we are doing in the war we're fighting.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 8:05 AM
Comments
Comment #175415

Clear and precise language is fundamental to clear and precise thought. Orwell in “Politics and the English Language” made the point with devastating effectiveness more than a half a century ago.

Politicians, advocates, etc., know this very well. That’s why some species of nuclear missiles are called “Peacekeepers,” unprovoked attacks are called “pre-emptive strikes,” and sneaky Reagan taxes were called “revenue-enchancers.”

I see it now in our use of the word “terrorist” to extinguish all differences between radical militant groups and make it easier for our leaders to avoid nuanced discussion with the public. So we get silly statements such as, “You can’t negotiate with terrorists.” Disregarding the likelihood that negotiating with Al Qaeda is probably pointless, you can negotiate with some militant groups who have used terrorism, such as the IRA and the Basque separatists.

Language and thought are intertwined, obviously.

Posted by: Trent at August 14, 2006 9:48 AM
Comment #175416

I know this is a little off the conversation, but i think it is related somehow or another: it seems we liberals might’ve switched places with out conservative counter-parts. Conservatives are creating a country with government-sponsored “welfare programs” while we liberals want to conserve those resources and are now asking that the Iraqi people “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

Think about it, now that the reason for Iraq is creating democracy and making people’s lives better, how else can we look it? We are supporting people and infrastructure for the good of the people there, and we’ve created a viscous cycle of dependance. The question now is how to break that cycle?

I could understand all this if the people of Iraq had asked us to intervene and help create a world more free for them. But they didn’t. So, the people setting up these programs have had to resort to creative naming of programs and results to make them feel more like what we had hoped the Iraq people would see them as. Iraqi Freedom! I think it’s simply human nature to make things sound and feel better, even if that’s contradictory to reality. Remember, the supporters of Iraqi welfare have never liked the idea of welfare, so you have to spin a little to help gain buy in.

The people in charge know that most of the supporters must discuss these on going events at church and social events, and very few people can talk about such violent deaths easily… but collateral damage sounds so much more… analytical and unavoidable. Hey, it’s the cost of freedom, right?

Posted by: tony at August 14, 2006 9:49 AM
Comment #175427

I read this and it’s amazing to me. All you are saying is exactly what the Administration has been saying from the beginning. When the new Iraqi government is capable of securing itself, we will leave. We do not want to keep 135,000 troops there indefinitely.

Right now the Iraqi brigades and police in control of 50% of the country and that number will keep growing.

If the goal of the terorists in Iraq was only to end the occupation, all they would have to do is go underground act like it’s over for a few months and wait until we leave. Unfortunately that’s not what they want. They don’t want us to leave they want us there so that they can point to us as their problem. Iraq with it’s own government is what they don’t want.

Posted by: Keith at August 14, 2006 11:55 AM
Comment #175431

Keith-
Not exactly. Bush’s people are taking a position of staying the course. They’ve set up no timetable, claiming the insurgents and the terrorists would take advantage of such advanced warning. As of right now, our stay in Iraq is indefinite. We don’t know if the withdrawal begins tomorrow or towards the end of Bush’s term. We also don’t know if Iraq is capable of surviving our withdrawal.

All this vagueness makes it difficult to determine whether Bush’s intent is to stall with nice words about our people standing down when these people stand up, or whether anything’s really happening.

The big question here is why we’re still at the same basic troop levels as before, if the Iraqis are taking on their roles well. The process needs a good kick in the seat of the pants to get it going. America is telling the president we need to start leaving.

Do you know when we’ll start leaving? If you can’t tell me that, then you can’t say that Bush is doing what I’m suggesting yet.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #175434

An additional point: The guerrilas probably couldn’t do what you describe and maintain their presence. If they aren’t out there doing visible things, if their presence isn’t causing havoc, then Iraq will get back to normal, and all the things that would better immunize Iraq against further insurgency would set in. These people want more than us out of Iraq, they want themselves in control, and the longer the situation goes on with them in charge and not the police or the army, the more they will be in charge.

These are not selfless freedom fighters here, these are people with their own agenda.

Also, fifty percent control is not that big a deal if it doesn’t included the big population centers. I think one could have control of more than fifty percent of American territory without taking hold of the vital city centers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 12:22 PM
Comment #175437

Stephen,

The questions should be:

Is it the correct foreign policy to let the world know what we are planning to do with specific information about our timetables?

Should our military moves be made public prior to them happening?

Are we targeting terrorists or just where terrorist hang out?

Posted by: Cliff at August 14, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #175446

Cliff-
Just because we’re telling people that we’re going doesn’t mean we have to tell them everything. We can publicize general details and goals. Operational details can remain under wraps.

Ultimately, it would not be a bad thing for our enemies to see America withdrawing. If we set up the framework and the treaties right, we should be able to say, basically, we’re now more free to bash any idiot who decides to threaten us or our allies (which, if we play our cards right, should include Iraq).

The Timetable should be set up so that Iraq will have the strength at each phase of the withdrawal to do without the soldiers we are removing. Additionally, the situation in Iraq should be sufficiently under control as to allow us the freedom to do these things without endangering the survival of the country.

As for terrorists and insurgents? We would target and defend against any force that would get in the way of our carrying out our goals. It’s of critical importance that we put full force and dedication into each phase of this withdrawal. I think that should include any temporary reinforcements necessary in order to get the job done.

The secrecy you suggest should not be necessary if we have been doing as well as Bush suggests. If we haven’t, the timetable should be encouragement for him to get off his ass and get things working.

Something else, something puzzling occurs to me: why complain now about timetables when he’s been setting them up all along? He’s set them for handover of sovereignty, for a number of elections and other things. I would think that maybe Bush’s problem is that he’s too concerned with the nominal, superfical side of timetables, and not enough in the effort, resources, and managerial push it takes to make such things work.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #175448

Now, though, things aren’t so simple. The insurgency has shot the glass, and like John “McLane in Die Hard we’re running across that, trying save Iraq, save civilians, and fight a war in their very backyards all at once. The armchair generals whose formative experience was the political aftermath of Vietnam, though, are refighting the war, trying to make a virtue of our perseverating and procrastinating in this conflict with Bush’s strategy.”

Lenin stated America would fall without a shot. In my college days I thought was ridiculous but not anymore. I am fully convinced that the reason this war has followed this path of difficulty resides right here at home. Many of our politicians are more concerned with political posturing than supporting our nation. Don’t think for a moment our enemy is not energized and encouraged when they see such division in America.

We can bark all day long that it is our right, our responsibility and our duty to call out the President over this conflict. It may be, but such division has consequences on this war and the cost of that division is more lives. Anyone that would think otherwise is only fooling themselves. Freedom is not free and has responsibilities.

Bush has no choice in this strategy since his political enemies count every body and use it to their political advantage. I agree, fighting this war with an attempt at limited casualities is a mistake, but I would never announce this to the world to reinvigorate the enemy.

So, pious democrats of the anti-war party, take a look in the miirror….you have become a part of the problem not the solution.

Posted by: curmudgeon-at-large at August 14, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #175452

Curmudgeon-at-large-
Second-guessing what will invigorate the terrorists is a waste of time. It serves more as emotional blackmail in the service of selfish politics than it ever has served to safeguard soldiers lives.

Among the dissents it has been used against has been the insufficient armoring of troops and the lowballing of manpower. The rhetoric serves to do is protect policy that has underarmored frontline vehicles, left many soldiers without body armor, consistently maintained lower troop numbers than what was needed for the mission, and has been powerless to halt the escalation of daily violence in Iraq, much less roll it back.

This policy has aided in the creation and continuation of the threat in Iraq. Forget emboldening the terrorists, Bush’s policy enabled their reign of terror to exist in the first place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #175454

Stephen:

“If we have lost, the lesson we should draw is that those who do not prepare the battlefield properly for the war are bound to lose it, and those who hide the realities of war behind politics and pretty words do that war a great disfavor. We will win by understanding things for what they are, not by building elaborate fantasies about what we are doing in the war we’re fighting.”

The first casualty of war is truth.

Stephen, I can’t help but believe that you think that this Iraq caper could have been a rousing success if only, if only… (you fill in the blank). If I may, I suspect that some of the answers might be: We needed 250K troops to keep the peace, the administration needed to be straight with the American people about goals, how this policy fit in to fighting terrorists, seeing that in March of 2003, the only terrorist in Iraq was Saddam.

What this “if only” thinking is predicated on is honorable intentions by the Bush administration, that this Iraq policy is governed by a rational, reasoned debate within the administration that furthers American geopolitical goals that is not at the expense of soverign nations or innocent lives. Problem is, every time the curtain has slipped, and we see the machinations of this policy (Downing Street memo, Niger uranium, non-existant WMD, the total inability to rebuild a functioning infrastructure that is crippled by no-bid contracts and downright graft), we see a seamy, stinking sewage of lies. Predicated on more lies. And the whole mess is spinning out of control, and the Baghdad morgue is doing a booming business, with 90% of all corpses showing a violent end.

“Hiding the realities of war behind politics and pretty words do that war a great disfavor.” The trouble is, if war isn’t couched as such, you’ll never get the nation to back it. Hence, truth indeed, is the first casualty of war.

I rather believe that anything that does
this war
a disfavor, is doing all men and women of good will a favor—be they Americans or Iraqis.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #175456

Stephen,

Bush’s policy enabled their reign of terror to exist in the first place.

This makes you sound like a leftist wacko…Was this your intent?

Posted by: cliff at August 14, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #175459

Cliff-
Bush’s policy did enable it. He’s no Palpatine, playing both sides of the war, if you think that’s what I mean. He’s just an incompetent leader whose military planners failed to anticipate the need for an occupation. Read George Packer’s The Assassins’ Gate For more on that.

Additionally, I’m sure the average reader can judge from the fact that I do not call for immediate withdrawal and/or abandonment of war efforts cold turkey, that I in fact try to lay out a strategy for victory and the means to judge our progress that I am no member of the far left, much less a wacko.

The Republicans and others on the right need corrective lenses if every Democrat and liberal they see skews to the far left in their sight.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #175460

Cliff,

No he simply discredited himself.

Stephen,

Speculating on what invigorates the terrorist is not opinion or a waste of time, its part of combat analysis. The fact that you blew that off leads me to belive you are doing nothing more than cut-n-pasting Howard Dean rhetoric.
I will go out on a limb and predict that they eat, drink and sleep as well. Take all these things away….so will they.

Posted by: curmudgeon-at-large at August 14, 2006 3:02 PM
Comment #175462

Tim Crow-
My views on the war are not built on any faith in the Bush administration’s ability to fight a war. I think I’ve demonstrated quite a number of times how much I believe they’re capable of that on their own.

I believe a failed state in Iraq is a problem that crosses party lines, and that if we don’t do our best to prevent that process of collapse from fulfilling itself, we will pay for it dearly. Arguments about what we did to get into this war will be useful in informing how we get into and stay out of future wars, but right now, we should also be concerne about how we get out of this one without making things much worse than they already are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #175466

curmudgeon-
Discredited myself? No, not in the view of many military strategists. Cliff misinterpreted me, at best, and what I actually said is consensus among many military experts, including the ones in the Army College who anticipated the problems of insurgency.

Speculating on the enemy’s mindset is a necessary part of war, but not the way you’re doing it. They way you’re doing it is essentially taking any Democrat or liberal proposal on the war and saying that it emboldens the terrorists. It’s an argument from fear, not from any valid logic. Maybe for a moment or two, the terrorist is invigorated. But wouldn’t that be a small price to pay for the creation of a strategy that wipes the smile off his face? I will not tiptoe around controversial subjects for a terrorists sake so we can continue to engage in policies that embolden terrorists by failing to defeat them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #175467

“Speculating on the enemy’s mindset is a necessary part of war, but not the way you’re doing it. They way you’re doing it is essentially taking any Democrat or liberal proposal on the war and saying that it emboldens the terrorists. It’s an argument from fear, not from any valid logic. Maybe for a moment or two, the terrorist is invigorated. But wouldn’t that be a small price to pay for the creation of a strategy that wipes the smile off his face? I will not tiptoe around controversial subjects for a terrorists sake so we can continue to engage in policies that embolden terrorists by failing to defeat them.”

Well said.

Posted by: Trent at August 14, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #175470

Stephen:

“Arguments about what we did to get into this war will be useful in informing how we get into and stay out of future wars, but right now, we should also be concerned about how we get out of this one without making things much worse than they already are.”

Okay. What do you suggest?

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 3:40 PM
Comment #175475

Tim-
The article has my basic suggestions. Truth is, we’re better off with Iraq than we were with Vietnam, because most Iraqis have an interest in Iraq remaining free, independent, and able to stand up to enemies in the region.

So, we motivate them by saying that if they want it, nows the time to get things in gear, and that we will put our full efforts behind getting them in gear, provided they recognize that our presence will diminish, and that theirs has to make up for that. It also gives them hope of independence of us.

It motivates us as well, gives us a goal to work towards. The limitations of the commitment, and the matters at stake can serve to reinvigorate our own troops, and reenergize the country’s approach to the war. If we know it’s going to be over soon, and that a certain amount of effort will see our plans through, we’re more likely to do that than if we had no plan and things just seemed to stretch into the dismal, indefinite future. I’m sure Americans would respond positively to the notion that the war might be over soon. It would solidify support behind military efforts to end this war, and might help to end the pointless partisanship that has soaked the process.

As a strategy, it encourages less of the political hemming and hawing by the generals, and more practical, strategical thinking.

Bush’s approach forces things into a hazy twilight zone of uncertainty, which makes setting goals and other useful measurements extremely difficult If we are to come out of this war with our best foot forward, we got to break out of that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 4:31 PM
Comment #175477

Tim, here is my take on what needs to be done if America wants to combat terrorism. Btw, I hate the term “War on Terror” — it’s a bullsh*t term that implies that we will one day “win” once and for all, and that terrorism will dissappear and be a thing of the past. That isn’t going to happen. Other nations have been dealing with terrorism for a very long time, and we’d all better get used to this new chapter in our history, without becoming scared rabbits, or completely doing away with our strong belief in our Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

Anyway here are my suggestions:

1. Get out of Iraq. I don’t give a damn if this is called “cut and run” or not — it’s the only sensible thing to do. Because it is GROWING terrorists, and it is training them to fight our troops. It is also spending all our money, indeed, it is spending money we don’t even have. Additionally, it is a distraction from what truly engdangers American lives most — terrorism on our own soil.
Let the Iraqi’s have their civil war — if they’d wanted something else, they’d have already stepped up to the plate en mass and would have been well engaged in the process of securing the peace by now. But that’s obviously not what they’ve wanted. They want their sectarian strife and civil war — so let’s let them have it. It’s not our job to solve all their problems while this ancient tribal sh*t is going on. When they’re done fighting amongst themselves and the violence goes down, we can offer them help with humanitarian aid and with reconstruction. Until then, as Murtha has known for quite some time, over the horizon is where our troops belong.

2. Homeland Security. Should we be surprised that liquid bombs were going to be used on airplanes? NO. Because Al Qaeda already took that idea for a test-drive previously. Yet, our Homeland Security dept. hasn’t done anything about that particular threat before now. They’re doing “a heck of a job”, aren’t they? Now that they’ve got the message about liquid bombs, they might also start focusing on our cargo containers too. They’re spending tens of billions of our taxdollars — I’d love for someone to tell me on WHAT. Why haven’t they put the 9/11 Commissions recommendations into effect? There is NO EXCUSE for them being allowed to overlook glaringly obvious threats while they continue to spend our money like it’s water.

3.. As the British have just shown us, old school law enforcement is what stops terrorism. Contrary to what the idiots in the Whitehouse believe, it isn’t military invasions and occupations. Surveillance operations (lawfully conducted of course), detective work, using human sources, cooperation with foreign intelligence services and their law enforcement agencies — these are things that clearly work. Furthermore, we must not always assume that terrorists will automatically come from foreign soil. Timothy McVeigh and the London subway bombers should have already alerted us to the fact that home grown terrorists are entirely probable as well.

4. Foreign Diplomacy. We need some desperately. They only way we will ever get co-operation regarding terrorist threats to our country is for us to become the good guys once again and engage the world diplomatically. We will also get more co-operation by giving aid to foreign countries where it is most needed. Such as how we scored some major points with Indonesia after the Tsnami. Providing assistance to nations who need help with clean water treatment and technology is yet another way we could score many points all over the world — and it wouldn’t even cost us that much.

So, those are my thoughts. If anyone wants to add to them, please feel free.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 14, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #175480

Stephen:

“I’m sure Americans would respond positively to the notion that the war might be over soon.”

I’m sure they would—provided that it were true, and that message was delivered by someone they could believe. Who would that be, at this point?

“It would solidify support behind military efforts to end this war, and might help to end the pointless partisanship that has soaked the process.”

This is a major difference in your thinking and mine. I do not see any legitimate conventional military effort ending this war. Ever. I also don’t think partisanship is pointless when it challenges insane policy. I, for one, do not find partisanship to be a dirty word. I do find partisan tactics of calling legitimate concerns and challenges regarding Iraqi policy ‘aiding al- Qaeda and the terrorists’ a dangerous political ploy that further alienates American voters.

At some point, the Bush administration needed to evolve from election mode to governance mode—they have never made that leap. Iraq is part and parcel of that lack of governance. ‘Stay the course’ isn’t a policy. It’s a campaign slogan. It doesn’t elucidate goals, it doesn’t define policy.

If I were in a room alone with President Bush for an hour, I would ask him this question.

“Why did the United States invade Iraq?”

If he mentioned the words: 9/11, terrorism, democracy, liberty, freedom, self-determination,
self defense, Saddam, geo-political, Iran, GWOT, American interests, stability, military, shock and awe, WMD, bio-terrorism, I would know he was lying. Because one word would be missing.

Oil.

As for your concern about leaving behind a failed state and this fact creating a problem for the United States in the future: the fate of Iraq is no longer in our hands. There is nothing the United States can do at this point to ameliorate or lessen a descent into chaos, if that is where the Iraqis themselves choose to go. This inability to recognize this very simple fact is the ultimate hubris of American thinking. That, by the very nature of who we are, we can influence events for the better, make things work, spreading democracy, freedom and good feelings as far as our reach can reach. And, the most intolerable thing about such hubris? We can’t even see that the whole world has become sick unto death of us.

This is a sobering thought, and it is one that pundits, government officials, senators and congressmen, military officials, policy wonks and think-tank consultants, not to mention the average American sold on the divine destiny of America, will spend the next how ever many months and years it takes to realize we can’t fix it.

Not militarily, not politically, not financially. It is out of our hands now. I think we had a three to six month window to truly influence the situation, to hit the ground running, to rebuild infrastructure, to impress the Iraqi in the street with our organization, our technology, our money. And we failed. Miserably.

The statue of Liberty shouldn’t have “Send me your tired, your poor….” It should have this:

“I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #175483

Adrienne:

Not surprisingly, we agree. I think point three is especially significant, and flies in the face of having an army of 135k in the middle of a civil war—unless, of course, as I suspect, it was about putting an American ‘police station’ in the middle of all that oil so we could dictate it’s usage by the rest of the world.


Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #175485

Adrienne, I think you have a very clear vision of what needs to be done. Now how can we get the deciders doing it?
I still believe we were there for the oil and that is why such an elaborate military base has been built over there and the reason we are not leaving.Until some way has been fixed to get a share of their oil our guys stay.I have had 3 nephews over and they all said that base was built to stay operating permanently.Just like we have in every country we have ever fought in.

Posted by: Suzieq at August 14, 2006 5:57 PM
Comment #175486

I got a trivial question. It seems to me that regardless of what we do or don’t do in the middle east there are always those who claim that it is because of oil.

Can someone explain to me what we can do there without a faction believing that oil is the only if not the primary reason for it?

Posted by: Frustration at August 14, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #175488

Tim Crow,

You threw out the “O” word without an explanation.
This conflict is not about oil. If all we wanted was Saddam’s oil, he would have sold us as much as we wanted for a lot less then what the conflict is or will cost.

It’s easy to throw out oil, Halliburton the evil neocons and all the rest of the bumber sticker logic, it’s another thing to make a case for it.

Posted by: Keith at August 14, 2006 6:54 PM
Comment #175489

Keith:

“It’s easy to throw out oil, Halliburton the evil neocons and all the rest of the bumber sticker logic, it’s another thing to make a case for it. “

Actually, it’s very easy to ‘make a case for it.’ That is where the largest deposits of known oil are. A continued presence in the Iraq and the Middle East is a way of hedging our bets, insuring that whoever runs Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, whether friendly to our bidding or not, will be looking at US troops that are a day away from their collective front door step.

Other evidence supporting my point about the ‘o’ word, is the very fact of who we don’t invade, and where we don’t have troops. Who we verbally castigate, and who we ignore. Who we try to overthrow and who we don’t. If you prefer to ignore evidence, fine. Other people around here are more discerning.

As for your Halliburton, evil neo-con comments, I see you agree with me.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #175496

Frustration:

“Can someone explain to me what we can do there without a faction believing that oil is the only if not the primary reason for it?”

I guess the short answer to your question is, “Nothing”. There will always be a ‘faction’ that will question the government’s motives at this point.


But I believe there are reasons for this. Part of it is in my answer to my post to Keith. Behavior is in large part an answer. Under the caption of behavior, is the failure of the United States to make real strides towards energy independence. This failure certainly goes beyond any particular recalcitrance on the Bush administration’s part. But I do not believe that it is coincidence that this administration is full of oil men, and that energy policy in the last five years has done nothing to lessen our dependence on oil. Their solution to oil dependence? We’ll find more. Perhaps. But there are a number of petroleum geologists and even oil executives who are privately concerned about peak oil.

Make no mistake—the Bush administration is well aware of scientific evidence that peak oil may be here, and in fact, may have already occurred. What does a great nation do when facing such educated predictions? It secures the known resources as quickly as it can. Methods are secondary.

It is also necessary to remind people that Bush has eight years to influence policy, to get the sappling to grow in a certain direction. Perhaps longer, if conservative methods of ‘stacking the deck’ of government through shady electoral methods and gerrymandering are successful. If the sappling grows into a tree that leans in a certain way, foreign policy-wise, the intent to change that policy may take years to change. And cutting down the tree becomes very unattractive.

Thus, do ideas and programs like the electoral college, a two-party system, a military-industrial-complex, US military bases the world over, ‘free market capitalism’ and supply-side economics become irreversable, even comforting, despite the fact, that,in some instances, they flat-out don’t work for the good of the whole nation.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 8:08 PM
Comment #175497

Adrienne, you ever consider running for any political office? I’d vote for you.

Posted by: Trent at August 14, 2006 8:13 PM
Comment #175502

Tim-
I suggest you, too, read George Packer’s The Assassins Gate. Iraq is not a totally lost cause. As far as the military response goes, I’m of the mind that if we don’t pull out properly, it will go from bad to worse. I don’t hold out much hope for Iraq being without serious problems for the next few decades, but I think we can choose varying degrees of smoothness in our withdrawal. We owe it to ourselves and the people of Iraq not to give up on repairing the damage we inflicted.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #175508

Stephen:

Understood. I will make a note of your suggestion, and thanks for bringing it to my attention.

“Adrienne, you ever consider running for any political office? I’d vote for you.”

What a neat idea! You have my vote.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 8:42 PM
Comment #175512

As far as oil goes, I think you oversimplify the matter. Oil in part is the reason why we began to care about much of what went on in the Middle East, and for good reason: It’s a strategic and economic resource we can’t do without. From there, though, the story complicates, and other factors, including Israel, which has nothing to do with oil, play their part.

You have to factor in these other things. The take-over of colonial interests from the former great powers. The Shah and how his rise and fall related to communism. Israel and our interests in protecting it. Iran, Syria, and terrorism. 9/11, the Saudis, and their Wahhabi evangelism. The third front in the Cold War and the complications that engendered with how policy was constructed.

Looking at all this and merely saying no blood for oil is misunderstanding how much blood could be spilled for lack of a supply, or for that supply in the wrong hands. It’s not the noblest reason to go to war, but sometimes, its sufficient. On the matter of the Iraq war, though, I don’t think it was involved too heavily. I think a case can be made that the Neocons engagement in this war has been more about the cold war, about a philsophy of confronting evil, rather that being concerned about balances of power or peace at all costs, and about the end of that cold war that left these people with the desire to find some new dragons to slay. There position is more about their conviction that the rest of us are dangerously naive about the threats of the real world, and that they can’t wait for the rest of us to get around to dealing with the bad guys.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #175514

Stephan: The rise and fall of the Shah? Iran was attempting to nationaize their oil industry. That was called communism. Imagine the nerve of a country wanting to control their own resources.

The idea that the Iraq war was about anything other than oil is mistaken. It was not about terrorism,iminent threat,WMDs,or democracy. We will not leave until the oil supply is secured or untenable under any circumstance. That supply may not come to the US but it will be secure from China. Plans within plans.
I do have a small glimmer of hope in the fact that sometimes wars do change their own rational. The US civil war did not start out to free the slaves but the cost was so great that a noble purpose had to arize.
The Kurds are likely to break off from the rest of Iraq.

Posted by: BillS at August 14, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #175515

Stephen:

“[Oil]It’s not the noblest reason to go to war, but sometimes, its sufficient.”

Of course.

“[Oil]It’s a strategic and economic resource we can’t do without.”

Nothing simpler than that. By the way, I’m not one of these blood-for-oil types. I just believe we ought to be a little more honest in our motives, that’s all.

“I think a case can be made that the Neocons engagement in this war… is about a philsophy of confronting evil…and about the end of [the] cold war that left these people with the desire to find some new dragons to slay.”

Undoubtedly. The decline of the Soviet Union definitely left a dangerous void to be filled, a bogey man that would keep the war engine greased and humming. Who would have thought the American people would buy the threat of some raggedy-ass Islamic malcontents after facing down the Soviets and their nuclear threat for over forty years.

“There position is more about their conviction that the rest of us are dangerously naive about the threats of the real world, and that they can’t wait for the rest of us to get around to dealing with the bad guys.”

Well, personally, they have me convinced. I believe it is high time the nation confronts this evil. It is obvious that the American people have been extremely naive about the threat facing the nation, the Constitution, the economy, the rule of law. I hear there’s an election coming up—perhaps this evil will be dealt with, once and for all, with a rickety, compromised and corrupted electoral system that defies belief. Because it is clear to me, that the neocons threat to this nation dwarfs anything, ANYTHING, some gutter rat terrorist could think up.

Isn’t life funny?

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #175516

“They way you’re doing it is essentially taking any Democrat or liberal proposal on the war and saying that it emboldens the terrorists. It’s an argument from fear, not from any valid logic.”


What is the democrat proposal for this war? I have yet to hear one outside of generalities and at this point gnersalities are useless. I seriously would listen but if it is anything like Adrienne’s no thanks.


Adrienne,

Couple of problems with your plan.

“Foreign Diplomacy. We need some desperately.”

1. Diplomacy does not work when those you attempt to consort with are in the hip pocket of the enemy. See the UN for a great example. As well, don’t think the Terrorist organizations are interested in diplomacy. They are bent on jihad. Americans need to get the point that terrorist do not think in terms of logic.


“As the British have just shown us, old school law enforcement is what stops terrorism.”

2. British police forces are able to operate on “suspicision”. A large step above probable cause. Obviously, this would make them much more effectuive and responsive. They also do not need a warrant. Are you willing to go there?


“Get out of Iraq. I don’t give a damn if this is called “cut and run” or not — it’s the only sensible thing to do.”

3. And turn it over to Iran so that they can turn it into a terrorist state? Nice plan. The only sensible plan is to go in and win and stop with the limited warfare. More die in the short run but in the long run lives will be saved.

Posted by: curmudgeon-at-large at August 14, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #175517

BillS:

“Imagine the nerve of a country wanting to control their own resources.”

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Well, the CIA showed them, by golly. Mess with our oil…[mutter mutter].

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 14, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #175519

Stephan: Part of your piece remined me of a line from Catch-22 when Yossarian said,” The enemy is whoever is trying to get you killed.”

What is so bad about a divided Iraq anyway? Its current border was drawn up by Churchill after WW1. These colonial borders do not seem to last ie. N. and S. Vietnam.

Curm: Not very likely that Iraq ever becomes part Of Iran though their influence there will increase no matter what we do. For one thing the Iranians are NOT Arabs. Secondly there is much mutual hatred between them from their war. Probably the only thing that could bring them together is a common enemy,us for example.

Posted by: BillS at August 14, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #175527

curmudgeon-
When has the right given specifics. Cite some examples to illustrate this point.

On Adrienne’s points:
1) Diplomacy worked with Qaddafi, whose agents blew up Pan Am 103. Why shouldn’t it work with the European powers, and some of the friendlier Arab countries? (for more on this, read Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine Doing foreign policy, especially counterterrorism, without talking to people, is like trying to run a business without talking to your suppliers and your customers. It simply doesn’t work Such rigid-mindedness like this is why we need a change of the guard in our government.

2)Actually, they have broader powers, but they have to be much more strict about what they do because of that. Some in the British Law Enforcement sector were concerned about the timing of the arrests for that reason.

Moreover, the brits are used to that, and it fits their society. Americans quite obviously live under a different system, we should adapt our approaches accordingly.

3)We don’t win this war until Iraq is rebuilt enough to survive without us. The more that is put off, The more the terrorists and radicals win. It may be cathartic to our anger to go ballistic in Iraq, but it works counter to our aims to have it actually work after we’re gone.

BillS-
The trouble is that the lines of old demarcation have blurred, if they were ever clear to begin with. The ottoman empire is dead, and resurrecting its old provinces is not likely to succeed, as the old order’s been dead for ages. groups have intermarried, loyalties have become mixed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 14, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #175533

Trent, Tim, thanks! If I was wealthier and had more time, I might consider running for political office. Since I’m not, I guess I’ll just stick to being a politically active worker bee, persistantly buzzing in the ears of my representatives at every opportunity. ;^)

Susieq:
“Adrienne, I think you have a very clear vision of what needs to be done.”

Thanks. I appreciate that.

“how can we get the deciders doing it?”

I think Americans voting out the Republican rubberstampers in Congress this November would probably be a good place to start.

“Until some way has been fixed to get a share of their oil our guys stay.”

If no change is affected after this election, I fear you’re right, Susie.

“I have had 3 nephews over”

Whoa, that must’ve been rough on your whole family, huh?

“and they all said that base was built to stay operating permanently.”

Yeah. The Neocons thought Iraq was going to be so easy, but despite the horrific quagmire it became, they still went ahead with the plans they’ve had for years — building permanent bases to use as a jumping off points for all the other wars they want to start in the Middle East.

“Just like we have in every country we have ever fought in.”

Indeed. All on behalf of the Military Industrial Complex. Nobody listened to Eisenhower’s warning:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Curmudgeon:
“What is the democrat proposal for this war? I have yet to hear one outside of generalities and at this point gnersalities are useless.”

Hilarious. Like “Stay the Course” is a treatise on the direction of the war!

“I seriously would listen but if it is anything like Adrienne’s no thanks.”

Oh, so I guess you think the DHS is doing a “heck of a job”, eh? You and all the other Bushies want to “stay” that “course” too?

“Adrienne,
Couple of problems with your plan.”

And everything is wrong with your Dear Leaders plan. The part where a nuclear bomb could be detonated from an unchecked cargo container near one of our major cities is really worrisome to “Traitorous Cut ‘n’ Runners” such as myself.

“Diplomacy does not work when those you attempt to consort with are in the hip pocket of the enemy.”

Oh, you mean like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

“As well, don’t think the Terrorist organizations are interested in diplomacy.”

So you think we should just turn the whole Middle East into Iraq? Hey, wait a second, is THAT what “Stay the Course” is actually code for? And here I just thought it was mindless, jingoistic sloganeering for the Fox News crowd.

“They are bent on jihad. Americans need to get the point that terrorist do not think in terms of logic.”

This is truly illogical thinking. Terrorists may have a lot of screws loose, but they’re far from stupid people — hence my suggestions to use the tens of billions the DHS gets, as well as the 257 million we’re spending in Iraq per day, to secure this country.

“British police forces are able to operate on “suspicision”. A large step above probable cause. Obviously, this would make them much more effectuive and responsive. They also do not need a warrant. Are you willing to go there?”

No. Because we don’t need to. Our methods of intelligence gathering and surveillance can work just as effectively without discarding our Constitution, or our FISA laws.

“And turn it over to Iran so that they can turn it into a terrorist state? Nice plan.”

Hate to break it to you, but it’s already a terrorist state. Bush staying this course gave it to us.

“The only sensible plan is to go in and win and stop with the limited warfare. More die in the short run but in the long run lives will be saved.”

Hogwash. We’ve been there over three years and the violence has only continued to grow and escalate in intensity. Now, there is civil war breaking out in earnest. Time to get our troops the hell out of there and let the Iraqi’s shape their own future.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 14, 2006 11:45 PM
Comment #175555

For those of you who constantly harp about our “oil” interests in Iraq and elsewhere—-

Something for you to think about.

I am not saying that I think we ARE or ARE NOT involved in Iraq because of oil. I do not personally believe so…but admittedly I do not know for sure. Putting all that aside for a moment, consider this.

During the first Gulf War, whenever I heard people make many of the same comments or criticisms about our “oil” involvement as I have heard here, I said the same thing I will say now.

—If you think that we should not make any political, military or economic decisions that are motivated by our need for or desire to acquire oil, I say the following:

Stop using ANY AND ALL PRODUCTS made with oil, made from oil, which use oil in any part of the manufacturing process, or which are shipped or tranported in any vehicle or vessel which burns oil for fuel or has parts lubricated with oil.

This means:
1) Removing ANY AND ALL plastic items or anything which contains plastic from your home.

This includes things like the washer, dryer, refrigerator and freezer, and the stove and microwave oven (all with multiple plastic parts); your clock radio or alarm clock, your toothbrush, the toilet paper roll, the toilet seat, all of the parts of the toilet which make it flush; the TV, radios, tape players, CD players, VCR’s and DVD players, and the VCR tapes, DVD’s, CD’s and cassettes tapes that go in them, and the remotes which control them; the blinds on your windows; your sewing machine; your fishing poles; your tool box and many of the tools in it; your computer and the many peripheral attachments that accomnpany it; your telephone and answering machine; all of your medicines and the bottles they come in; your personal care products and the bottles they come in; any footwear or belts or purses which are not 100% leather; furniture with plastic handles or plastic parts; your car!!! And many hundreds and thousands of other items.


2) Remove ANY AND ALL items which are manufactured in a factory which uses oil for fuel, or which uses oil for lubricating the machines which make the products.

This includes all of the above mentioned items, as well as anything else you could name.


3) Remove ANY AND ALL items you own which were transported on vessels or vehicles which burns gas or diesel, or have parts lubricated with oil.

For those of you who say “I don’t own a car…I ride a bicycle”, remember that the bike not only contains plastic parts (#1 above), but was manufactured in a factory on machines which have plastic parts and which are lubricated with oil based lubricants (#2 above), but was also transported to the store where you bought it by truck (gas, oil), and maybe also by boat from overseas (diesel, oil). Indeed, every single product and food item you buy, even those which were made or grown locally, were transported to the store or market where you bought them by vehicles using gas or diesel for fuel.

So, how much “involvement” with oil should we have?

I don’t know whether we went to war for oil. I certainly hope we did not. But regardless, if any of you out there think that we cannot or should not make economic or political decisions with our need for oil in mind, you need to take a good, close look at your lifestyle and your own home and possessions, and then re-assess your position on oil.

Regardless of how “off the grid” you might live, or how oil independent you might think you are, we are ALL dependent on oil and oil based products and processes for our daily existence.

You might not like it, but oil is a VERY important part of our world.


DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 15, 2006 1:50 AM
Comment #175559

I watched the 60 minutes interview with Ahmadinejad (well, as much as I could stand)and have been watching several interviews with anti neo-cons. I think regularly about the Bush position of non-diplomacy and the costs of war. Ahmadinejad has valid points and lots of B.S.

Bush has a valid point. We are not in a war against terror any more than we are in a war against car bombs. We are in a war against Fundamentalist Islam. The Ironic part is that we fomented much of this movement by installing and supporting the Shah of Iran, supporting the House of Saud, and Intervening in Pakistan, abandoning them, and then supporting a millitary dictator there. The Islamists want to remove the infidels from their lands.

Once again we find ourselves fighting anti- Imperialist forces in a foreign country and region. Collateral damage is one of those words that hides the terror and carnage of war. War is brutality. War is death and destruction. The bombing of Dresden was supposedly to bomb ball bearing factories. Bull, it was to inflict terror on the German people . The cute new propoganda is to talk about precision weapons. They do not exist. A surgeon’s knife is precise, a bomb is by definition not precise. It sears flesh and shreds bodies.

Oil is a vital resource. We burn it for cheap energy. We could be building energy independant housing. It is possible today in much of America.
It would be costly in dollars. We have chosen to blow up people in foreign lands who resist our claim to this cheap energy source. We could produce plastics with US sources or even develop plastic production through biologic or coal oils. We choose to fund a military that projects our power through killing foreign populations that don’t go along. We killed off the Native Americans to possess their land.

Who is the terrorist? We’re not evil anymore than any other people, but to believe the lie that we are innocents attacked by an axis of evil is naive. What and who pays the cost of cheap energy?
Is our national policy where we want it to be?

Posted by: gergle at August 15, 2006 2:37 AM
Comment #175564

gergle—and others—

-“The Ironic part is that we fomented much of this movement by installing and supporting the Shah of Iran, supporting the House of Saud, and Intervening in Pakistan, abandoning them, and then supporting a millitary dictator there. The Islamists want to remove the infidels from their lands.”

Bullsh-t!! That is the same lame bunch of excuses that you libs always fall back on when trying to “understand” and rationalize the actions of radical terrorist a—holes…that we alone created the problem of Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism, and that we alone are responsible for people hating us, and if we would only leave their “lands” (sniffle sniffle) they would happily leave us alone! What a crock!!

I have read numerous passages from translations of the Koran…Islam teaches that the true believer must kill the infidels. Islam doesn’t teach tolerance…it teaches hate and the destruction of ones “enemies”, the infidels, whoever and whereever they may be.

For crying out loud people…this is a religioin that teaches that your wife is your property, and infidels (especially Jews) are descended from pigs and other animals, therefore not deserving of consideration as human beings!!!! There have even been Islamic leaders on Arab TV who have come right out and said this!!!

The Imams and other radical religious leaders of the Arab world take this many steps further by claiming that WE are the “Infidel” (with a capitol “I”) and as such the sole reason for the sad and miserable circumstances that the world, especially the Arab world, finds itself in. Furthermore, they VERY OFTEN make impassioned speeches where they advocate not only the killing of westerners, but indeed the goal of one day ruling the entire world under the religious banner of Islam!! They don’t just want us “out of their lands”, they want us all DEAD or converted to Islam!!

Go to www.memri.org, the website of the Middle Eastern Media Research Institute, and see for yourself. This organization reprints written articles, and records video and audio broadcasts of speeches, interviews, and even “teaching” sessions, by so-called “leaders” of the radical Islamic world, and makes them available for all to see for themselves the truth of what these people want.

THEY WANT US DEAD!! Period. The sooner you open your eyes and see this, and admit it, the sooner you will be able to acknowledge that these excuses are just that…excuses!! They seek nothing less than the deliberate and systematic elimination of anyone and everyone who disagrees with radical Islam or the tenets thereof, or who refuses to accept it as their religion. You libs always wail and bemoan the power and influenece of the religious right in THIS country, and the creation of a “theocracy” in this country…
radical Islam is the epitome of the feared religious right, and you do nothing but make excuses and garner support for their cause!!

Why do you continually make excuses for their behavior…for the killing of innocent women and children in indiscriminate car bombings and hijackings…for the kidnapping, torture, beheading and murder of civilians, news journalists, reporters, and soldiers…for the wanton slaughter of thousands of men, women and children of a [slightly] different version of Islam (Sunni vs Shiite)? Why do you condone their use of violence against those who are different from them, while preaching to the rest of us about how violence isn’t the answer to our problems?

The “civil” war in Iraq isn’t our fault…it wasn’t created by us…it exists because those former Baathists and other slimeballs who were in power under Saddam want that power back, and they are willing to kill American soldiers and their own fellow citizens alike in an effort to get it back!!

Many of you say that we should leave Iraq and tell the Iraqis to stand-up and take charge. Is that what we told the Vietnamese when we abandoned them? How long does it take to prepare a people to take charge of their own country after a vile, vicious, murdering dictator is overthrown and they have their freedonm for the first time in decades? How long is long enough for them to be ready? Who will you libs blame when we leave them and they fall on their collective faces? Who will THEY blame? Probably us…then that will give you all more ammunition to find fault with the Republicans and Bush and anyone who supported the war.

One thing is for sure…if we leave now and the Iraqis fail, you “cut and run” liberals certainly won’t take the blame…you will look for some way to make it someone else’s fault. That is what you are best at, shirking responsibility.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 15, 2006 3:25 AM
Comment #175566

-“Oil is a vital resource. We burn it for cheap energy. We could be building energy independant housing. It is possible today in much of America.
It would be costly in dollars. We have chosen to blow up people in foreign lands who resist our claim to this cheap energy source. We could produce plastics with US sources or even develop plastic production through biologic or coal oils.”

This is of course based on your assumption that we went to war for oil. Prove it. I for one don’t buy that claim. You libs constantly clamor for “proof” of WMDs…support your claim that we went to war for cheap oil.

And since when is it the government’s job to “build energy independent housing”? That is YOUR responsibility when you buy a house…not their’s. You can choose to have solar panels put in, install geothermal water heating, erect a windmill for electricity. It is not the role of the government to do that for you. Stop depending on the government to do for you what you can and should do for yourself.

“We choose to fund a military that projects our power through killing foreign populations that don’t go along.”

Yep…that is what we do…just go about wantonly killing anyone who doesn’t give us what we want. Just like we have wiped out the Japanese for their cheap electronics, and the Italians for their fast sporty cars, and the Germans for their delicious beer. Because when we want something we just go out and TAKE IT and GOD help you if you stand in our way!!! What a ridiculous claim. Why do you libs hate your country so bad?

-“We killed off the Native Americans to possess their land.”

Maybe so, but since none of those people who are guilty of that are alive today, it has absolutely NO BEARING on this discussion. What’s past is past and can’t be changed now anyway, so what’s the point of bringing that up? Feeling a little collective liberal guilt?

I like the line from the movie “Last of the Dogmen” where the professor says to the cowboy, re: the Indian situation “What happened was INEVITABLE…the way it happened was unconscionable” [my emphasis]. And may I remind you…the Indians stole from each other and killed each other for horses, land, food and other less noble things all the time. That was a part of their life. Our white ancestors did nothing more or less to the Indians than they did to one another.

Speaking of that, I am tired of being made to feel like I have to defend myself against the constant attacks against my race.

The white race isn’t the only one by any stretch who have committed “atrocities” against other races. And I refuse to feel guilt or take responsibility for the actions of people who were born and died long before I ever came into this world. I have never killed or scalped an Indian, never lynched a black man, and never locked up a Japanese. I never owned slaves and neither did my ancestors, and I refuse to be held accountable for those who did. I didn’t kill the Indians and take their land. I am sorry it happened the way it did, but it’s over and now we all have to live with it and move on. I don’t even own land myself so I cannot give back what doesn’t belong to me. Stop trying to make me feel guilty for what someone else did 200 years ago.

I am not ashamed that I am white…I have nothing to be ashamed of. I personally am not guilty of harming anyone (and that is all you could reasonably hold me responsibile for), and I refuse to be made the scapegoat of your misplaced liberal guilt trip for things I had no control over.


DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 15, 2006 4:03 AM
Comment #175574

Great posts Tim Crow. Keep it up.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 15, 2006 6:14 AM
Comment #175576

Wise words from Adrienne also.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 15, 2006 6:23 AM
Comment #175578

Can’t vote for you Adrienne (I’m not American) I qualified to practice there but I don’t want to live in the US (I love home too much, NY is too hectic to be my scene, should’a qualified in California really). It is apparent that the US needs clear-headed intelligent politicians, who actually have a moral compass (sadly lacking for some) so don’t rule yourself out.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 15, 2006 6:32 AM
Comment #175580

Dave R,

The fact that you interpret my statement of collective responsibility for the actions of our government as some reason for you to be ashamed of your race reveals your bigotry.

I also stated that we (meaning all Americans, not any particular race) are no more evil than any other people, but since that doesn’t fit into your bigotted idea, you neatly avoid that part of my post.

I once had a literature techer that pointed out, as we read greek tragedies, that the human condition of foibles hasn’t changed since the times that these were written

What I hate is ignorance, we are an aggressive warrior nation and we all benefit from it, including me. We did kill Japanese in WWII, not for cheap electronics, but to stop their dominance of the East.

That you did not own slaves or scalp Native Americans can also be turned to state you did not earn your freedom fighting in the revolution.

If you do not think we are invloved in middle east politics for oil, I suggest you renounce your use of these products to demonstrate your lack of guilt. I’m curious what you think won WWII.
Did it have nahting to do with oil?

I made no comments about the government sponsoring energy independent housing, but since you brought it up, why should my taxes fund tax breaks for oil companies?

The point I was trying to make, beyond the point that we are in a war against Islamic Fundamentalists, which came from President Bush and since even he acknowledges there were no WMD, was that it is our national policy that has led us to this war and contiues to lead us into this fight. It isn’t an attempt to bestow guilt upon whitey, but an attempt to recognize a behavior that is resulting in a lot of dead people from those unterrifying precision bombs.

Blaming the Quran is like blaming the Bible for killing the Native Americans.

Posted by: gergle at August 15, 2006 6:53 AM
Comment #175582

correction on 6th paragraph: Did it have anything to do with oil?

Posted by: gergle at August 15, 2006 6:56 AM
Comment #175600

Dave R,

Outstanding post. Bring the noise my friend, I may just vote for you.

Adrienne,

Your points remain moot. You provided no plan except to criticze the current plan. That is not construtive and is the basis of the DNC plan at the moment….nothing. Instead of hammering at “Stay the course”, provide something better. I know I have.


Irag is not a terrorist state to the extent it WILL be if we leave and Iran gains control and they WILL gain control. We are all that is stopping that. Obviously, those consequences are not clear to you. The vast majority of Iraq is stable for that matter. Thats a fact. I will not even begin to list the multiple failures in diplomacy with these people. They are not interested in diplomacy the WANT jihad.


As far as the British, (to quote the great John McEnroe: “You can not be serious”. Do you actually belive that the ability to searh and seize only on suspicision and without a warrant is not much more effective than our current system we employ? Ask some of your local authorities. You seriously under estimate British Intelligence. It is outstanding at the very least on par with the US. I ask again “Willing to employ those tactics?”.

“This is truly illogical thinking. Terrorists may have a lot of screws loose, but they’re far from stupid people”

Adrienne, you are still thinking in Western terms. Jihad is not stupid to muslim extremist. Jihad is the most NOBLE of causes and brings great reward. They are pleasing Allah and for them, there is no greater reward. They ARE NOT afraid of death and often welcom it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-at-large at August 15, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #175618

DaveR,

It is truly a pity that your sense of history doesn’t match your lack of guilt.

Look at it this way;

If an airline loses your luggage, the attendant behind the counter isn’t actually responsible, however the airline he/she works for is.

America has done some great things, and I am sure you feel pride for that.
America has also done some mighty stupid things, but you can surely brush that off without any responsibility at all.

The people that point out America’s faults don’t hate America, we just wish folks like you could recognize them and learn not to ignore them when you take pride in America’s accomplishments.

Posted by: Rocky at August 15, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #175649

abhcoide:
“Great posts Tim Crow. Keep it up.”

Definitely. I’ll second that.

“Wise words from Adrienne also.”

Thanks very much.

“Can’t vote for you Adrienne (I’m not American) I qualified to practice there but I don’t want to live in the US (I love home too much, NY is too hectic to be my scene, should’a qualified in California really).”

If you ever decide to try, I’d strongly suggest Northern California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area (where I live). The beauty of this area is almost as lovely as Ireland, and there are a huge number of Irish ex-pats that you could always rub elbows with if you found yourself missing your fellow countrymen and women.

“It is apparent that the US needs clear-headed intelligent politicians, who actually have a moral compass (sadly lacking for some) so don’t rule yourself out.”

Again, thank you! That’s very kind of you to say.
Btw, I grew up hearing (Scots) gaelic due to my relatives, but the for the past few years, an Irish friend of mine has been conversing with me in the Irish (the two forms share many similarities, but can often be very different), so I’m curious about your blog tag — are you a lawyer? Abhcoide is advocate, or barrister, correct? I’m just going to assume that it doesn’t mean your very fond of avocados! ;^)

Curmudge:
“Your points remain moot. You provided no plan except to criticze the current plan. That is not construtive and is the basis of the DNC plan at the moment….nothing. Instead of hammering at “Stay the course”, provide something better. I know I have.”

Democrats vary in their approach to plans and solutions for getting out of Iraq — but all agree we need to find a way to do so. As I mentioned in my first post in this thread, I believe that Rep. Murtha is right, and that our troops have needed to leave and maintain an over the horizon position in Kuwait. I agree with Senator Feingold’s position that we need to set a date for that withdraw. And even though I don’t agree with her very often, I agreed with Senator Clinton’s recent remarks to Rumsfeld. Indeed I am deeply disgusted that Rummy hasn’t been fired — this should have happened ages ago.
I must criticize the Republican’s current plan — because there is really none to speak of, and clearly they aren’t searching for one. Indeed, “stay the course” is now a catchphrase for clueless, incompetent, and totally ineffective in the face of utter chaos.

“Irag is not a terrorist state to the extent it WILL be if we leave and Iran gains control and they WILL gain control. We are all that is stopping that. Obviously, those consequences are not clear to you. The vast majority of Iraq is stable for that matter. That’s a fact.”

Iraq was not a terrorist state when we illegally invaded it, but it has become one while we’ve been there. What makes you think we can do anything about that at the moment? Like I said before, they want their civil war, and nothing we can do right now is going to stop it from taking place. All we are currently doing is trying delay that inevitability, meanwhile, we are illegal and unwanted occupiers of their country — one that all factions are using for target practice. This is a completely ridiculous an horribly unfair position to put our troops into — and damn it, they deserve more respect and better leadship that what they’re getting. It’s also costing us a fortune, and no progress is being made for the Iraqi people. No. Iraq needs to have their civil war since they want it more than peace. Period. After the sectarian violence abates, American troops in that over the horizon position, might be forced to intervene (hopefully with the help of our allies) if or when, Iran makes an attempt to take over. And when that civil war is over, then we can help the Iraqi’s with humanitarian aid and reconstruction.

“I will not even begin to list the multiple failures in diplomacy with these people. They are not interested in diplomacy the WANT jihad.”

Bushco has made no direct attempts at diplomacy with Iran. In fact, they have weakened this country with their overall failure to engage other countries diplomatically. Jihad be damned. An effort should always be made, rather than talk tough but do nothing to shape world events. It is an embarrassment and a disgrace. Just as they have put us into a weakened position with this assinine talk of “when the Iraqi’s stand up we’ll stand down.” A weak, ineffective, and passive stance, that — allowing the Iraqi’s to dictate what America can and will do.
It’s bullsh*t. Time to tell the Iraqi’s to either get their peacekeeping sh*t together, or they’re on their own until their civil war is over.

As far as the British, (to quote the great John McEnroe: “You can not be serious”. Do you actually belive that the ability to searh and seize only on suspicision and without a warrant is not much more effective than our current system we employ? Ask some of your local authorities.”

We have FISA laws. These give more than enough latitude to get the job done. Ignoring the FISA laws because Bush thinks their too much trouble is an un-American outrage of epic proportions.

“You seriously under estimate British Intelligence. It is outstanding at the very least on par with the US.”

No. It is more effective than ours because they’ve been dealing with terrorism far longer than we have. It is also more well managed than ours, because they’re gathering their intelligence in accordance with their own laws, rather than break them because they think it’s too much trouble to comply with them.

“I ask again “Willing to employ those tactics?”.

No. I want us to follow the good example the British have set. Learn as much as we can about Middle Eastern cultures. Focus on homeland security. Gather intelligence in accordance with our laws.

I wrote:
“This is truly illogical thinking. Terrorists may have a lot of screws loose, but they’re far from stupid people”

curmudge:
“Adrienne, you are still thinking in Western terms. Jihad is not stupid to muslim extremist.”

I didn’t say that. I meant that while Islamic extremism and terrorism are crazy, the people who are focused on jihad aren’t stupid or illogical when it comes to planning their attacks. We have to learn to think the way that they do, and prepare for the worst attacks they might inflict upon our people, not simply write these people all off as illogical.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 15, 2006 1:20 PM
Comment #175675

abhcoide and Adrienne:


“Well said Tim Crow.”

Thank you for your kind words.

I think one of the things that people never (or rarely) consider about this Iraq situation: the amount of verbage, intellectual energy, emotion and preoccupation this policy has wrought.

I think of all the elements of our lives that have been usurped by this war: the money, these lives, the human creativity lost and squandered, the mental energy and emotion wasted, human kindness and understanding ignored and frittered away, the natural resources defiled and damaged. It boggles the mind. I am tired of spending so much of my waking hours thinking, writing, and talking about this war.

Three hundred and fifty billion dollars. Twenty-six hundred Americans, fifty to one hundred thousand Iraqis. These are the things we can count, these are the consequences we are aware of.
What have we lost that is not apparent? What has slipped away that we haven’t noticed, that quietly got up in the middle of the night and left, and never spoke a word? Our humanity? Simple human kindness? Our empathy? Our sense of self? Our belief in each other?

What is the real cost, when we barely have a tenuous hold on our own humanity?

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 15, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #175677

This is not a war against Fundamentalist Islam or even Radical Islam. Our efforts are to supress the threat of catastrophic violence from groups who use their religion as a license to attack us. People can believe what they want in this world, and there’s not much we can do to stop them. Efforts to combat religious movements, as the Romans and Arabs of Ancient Arabia can tell you, often end up building the stature and popularity of religions.

It’s the belligerence we have to head off. There are plenty of countries around the world whose beliefs we don’t like. That’s not a sufficient condition for war, though. It is a sufficient condition for other actions, though. We should defend ourselves when attack, and otherwise engage in programs of diplomatic and economic pressure and incentives to stop engaging in inhumane and unjust behavior. It is the motivation to attack us that we must confront and frustrate.

DaveR-
You can understand what somebody does, and why they do it without becoming passive in the face of it. As of yet, I have yet to rationalize their actions. I consider them wrong, and believe that most every Liberal here does, too.

Now I’ve stated that the things we do, the mistakes we make can contribute to motivating people to oppose us, but that’s not two wrongs making a right for them. That’s just understanding the consequences of your actions.

Islam is not one solid cohesive religion, no more than Christianity is, and it’s holy book is no more politically correct than ours. I’d be cautious about quotations, because people quote out of context, and out of mistranslated texts. They also confuse the Hadith, which is neither uniformly authoritative, nor considered as divinely inspired as the Quran.

History proves that Islam is not a fundamentally intolerant religion. Many Jewish, Orthodox, and Catholic communities existed long into the twentieth century as part of their culture. The Quran teaches much more tolerance than you think it does.

That is not to say that religious figures throughout the ages have not abused its text or misinterpreted it from good intentions. But we are no angels as a culture with that. Our political correctness on the matter is fairly young.

Truth of the matter is, things are great deal more complicated than you think.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 15, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #175723

Stephen,

Of course you are right in saying it is not religion that attacks us, and I am no authority on Islam. I was watching an authority on Islam on C-span recently who was talking about the differences between a broad view and a narrow vision of Islam. The narrow vision that Bin Laden and the Wahabi’s are teaching with literal interpretations of the Quran does advocate violence against infidels.

I agree that those that use religion to spread hate and violence are not, in my mind anyway, the classic definiton of religious persons, just manipulators. Classic Islam is oriented towards very peaceful and harmonious living, as I understand it.

I do think a fundamentalist form of Islam has become widespread in the Middle East and Indonesia and is being used by propogandists to deflect frustration and anger in the masses toward a hatred of the West. We have of course helped this along with bigoted and cavalier policies that consider only our immediate needs for oil and economic gain.

The only point I was trying to make is that there is a hatred by many of Westerners in the Middle East and that is that movement we should be fighting. The stupidity of the nation building in Iraq is that we are fomenting more hatred. The sad part is that many of us were skeptical that it probably wouldn’t work. Saying we are fighting terror is nonsense. Carnage and terror is what war is all about…on both sides. If I lived in Iraq or South Lebanon, I’d be pretty terrified right now.

Thanks for the post on the euphemisms, I agree wholeheartedly.

Posted by: gergle at August 15, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #175745

DaveR: Another way to look at is ,would we be in Iraq if there were no oil there? Clearly not. Iraq would be a poor country exporting dates and goat meat. Tourism would be the biggest source of forign income. Oil is the basis for every part of mid-east governance nearly always sustaining despots. We have a hand in this and have for a long time.

Posted by: BillS at August 15, 2006 9:14 PM
Comment #175774

Rocky—

-“It is truly a pity that your sense of history doesn’t match your lack of guilt. Look at it this way; If an airline loses your luggage, the attendant behind the counter isn’t actually responsible, however the airline he/she works for is. America has done some great things, and I am sure you feel pride for that. America has also done some mighty stupid things, but you can surely brush that off without any responsibility at all. The people that point out America’s faults don’t hate America, we just wish folks like you could recognize them and learn not to ignore them when you take pride in America’s accomplishments.”

What the hell are you talking about? Your analogy doesn’t hold water. Here’s why.

1) If an airline lost my luggage, I wouldn’t blame the lady behind the counter, because I know it isn’t her fault. I wouldn’t even blame the airline at large. I would blame the people WORKING for the airline who don’t have the common sense or ability to properly read the name tags. I would blame the airline for hiring incompetent people and/or improperly training the people who lost the luggage.

2) The lady behind the counter, the luggage handlers and the airline itself are in the HERE AND NOW!! They are in the present, handling my luggage in the present, and they are directly responsibile for the actions that they undertake.

Our ancestors, OTOH, are dead. They did what they did decades ago, even centuries ago. It is past, it is over, and I personally do not have the ability to change what happened. I did not participate in what happened. I neither condoned nor supported what happened 200 years ago, because I was not there. No reasonable person can hold me or anyone alive TODAY responsible for the actions of people who are dead and gone, and I do not feel like I have to be held accountable for their actions or apologize for them. That is what you guilt ridden apologist liberal whiners don’t get. You want us all to feel bad about sh-t which we didn’t do and for which we cannot do anything about.

I DIDN’T DO IT AND I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR IT…MY “GOVERNMENT” DIDN’T DO IT BECAUSE “MY” GOVERNMENT IS THE PEOPLE I HELPED ELECT, NOT THE PEOPLE FROM 200 YEARS AGO WHO ARE LONG DEAD AND GONE!!!!!

The SYSTEM of government we have is not what is responsible for what happened in the past, the people who were serving in it are responsible.
SO how can you logically hold me and the rest of modern society responsible for the actions of people 200 years ago? That doesn’t even make sense.

It is not my fault and I refuse to be held liable for decisions for which I had no input, just as I would refuse to be held liable for decisions YOU make which result in problems for you and the people around you. I DIDN’T DO IT!!! Get that through your thick head!!

As for the accomplishments of our society and our government, of course I am proud of them. I am also not so dumb as to take repsponsibility for the actions of the past because again I was not there. But I would take pride in the actions of “my” government…the government that I helped elect or the one in which I had an active part in…the one in the here and now…the one in which I had some direct input. I can take pride in and shame in the leaders I helped elect. The government is NOT some all powerful entity existing seperate from the peoople in it.

I can also take pride in the accomplishments of the past as they were done by the people who did them. I CAN take pride in the accomplishments of the past through the ability of my fellow citizens from long ago to elect good leaders, and the ability of those leaders to make good decsions, without having directly participated in either.

The PEOPLE in the “government” make the decisions….the “system” doesn’t differentiate between good and bad, Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal. The “government” is not the problem, the people in it are the problem.

But you and your liberal cronies see the system as the problem. You seek to change the system, rather than EX-change the people. The system isn’t the problem, and you are foolish if you cannot see the difference between the two.

That is why I do not take responsibility for the actions and misdeeds of the past…BECAUSE I WASN’T THERE!!! Get it now???

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 16, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #175778

Stephen—

-“Islam is not one solid cohesive religion, no more than Christianity is, and it’s holy book is no more politically correct than ours…..That is not to say that religious figures throughout the ages have not abused its text…”

I totally understand that, and is in fact one of the points I was trying to make. That is why I use terms such as “extremists” and “radical Islam” when I write, because I understand that the extremists of Islam, just as extremists in any religion (including those in Christianity, one of the libs favorite whipping boys), seldom represent the mainstream members of that religion. But one problem I see, which was brought to light clearly today (8/15/06) in the speeches and comments made by Muslims around the world in response to President Bush recent speech, is that the Islamic faithful themselves refuse to acknowledge that there are extremists in their own midst who are doing the Muslim religion great harm by misrepresenting it to the world. Bush didn’t make a blanket statement about Islam, but to hear these angry people who were screaming bloody hell today, you would think he did.

The same holds true for me. I know that the vast mojority of Muslims probably want nothing more than to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors, but they are overshadowed by the deeds of their radical brethren who use Islam as a tool to justify the killing of innocent men, women and children all over the world. They (the mainstream Muslim community) need to admit to their (radical Muslim extremists) existence, recognize their threat, and stop sheltering them and do all they can to help the rest of the world eliminate them, once and for all.


-“…or misinterpreted it from good intentions. But we are no angels as a culture with that. Our political correctness on the matter is fairly young.”

I am not denying this either. But again, this proves my point (which I have tried to make in this forum before) that there are extremists in every culture and every religion, and one cannot judge the mainstream by those examples of radicalism whose voices always tend to be the loudest. That goes for Christianity too…a lesson which the anti-religious zealots on the liberal side of the fence would do well to learn and acknowledge.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 16, 2006 1:55 AM
Comment #175781

gergle—

-“The fact that you interpret my statement of collective responsibility for the actions of our government as some reason for you to be ashamed of your race reveals your bigotry.”

How exactly do you get that I am a bigot because I refuse to accept responsibility for the actions of dead people? Some of you liberals have perfected the ability to twist a conservatives words to make us fit whatever nasty stereotype you want. How you can POSSIBLY see anything I wrote as being indicative of being a bigot is beyond me! What a stretch.

As for the “…actions of our government…” bit, see my post to Rocky.

-“I also stated that we (meaning all Americans, not any particular race) are no more evil than any other people, but since that doesn’t fit into your bigotted idea, you neatly avoid that part of my post.”

Again, how do you get that I am a bigot from that?

-“What I hate is ignorance, we are an aggressive warrior nation and we all benefit from it, including me. We did kill Japanese in WWII, not for cheap electronics, but to stop their dominance of the East.”

Yeah, Einstein I know…I was obviously (or maybe not so obviously since you didn’t seem to get it) being sarcastic…I wasn’t even referring to actual events, Slick! (Talk about not being able to interpret someone’s comments properly).

-“That you did not own slaves or scalp Native Americans can also be turned to state you did not earn your freedom fighting in the revolution.”

I never said I fought in the revolution. Again, where do you get that from?

You make stuff up…to make a counter-arguement…against things I never said!!!

I am totally indebted to my ancestors for freeing us from English rule. I never once made the claim that I had anything to do with that.

-“If you do not think we are invloved in middle east politics for oil, I suggest you renounce your use of these products to demonstrate your lack of guilt. I’m curious what you think won WWII. Did it have nahting to do with oil?”

Once again, where do you come up with this observation”?

And how, EXACTLY, does ME renouncing MY use of oil products demonstrate my lack of guilt…guilt for WHAT? I have no guilt. I use oil products, and I don’t have a problem with that. I would happily support and utilize any new technology which comes along to replace oil, so long as it doesn’t harm my family or our life.

I am sure it was clear to everyone BUT YOU…that I was saying that if anyone does in fact have guilt for using oil based products, and doesn’t support our efforts to secure oil for our use, then THEY might want to get rid of all THEIR oil based products, before they jump on the anti-oil bandwagon and start preaching to the rest of us.

(Did you actually read my post, or did someone paraphrase it for you? They did a horrible job).

-“I made no comments about the government sponsoring energy independent housing, but since you brought it up, why should my taxes fund tax breaks for oil companies?”

You implied it through your comment that “Oil is a vital resource. We burn it for cheap energy. We could be building energy independant housing. It is possible today in much of America.”

You say “we” burn oil for cheap energy…is that society as a whole? That’s how I take that comment. But then you say “we” could build energy independent housing. Again, I took that to mean society as a whole (hence, the implication that it is up to “the government”).

If, however, you meant that each individual could build energy independent housing, then maybe you should seperate the societal “we” from the individual “we”. In that you would be correct…”we” (individuals) could build energy independent housing…and “we” (individuals) will do so if we decide to. That is a choice each homeonwer must make for themselves. “We” as a society do not get to make that choice.

-“The point I was trying to make, beyond the point that we are in a war against Islamic Fundamentalists, which came from President Bush and since even he acknowledges there were no WMD, was that it is our national policy that has led us to this war and contiues to lead us into this fight. It isn’t an attempt to bestow guilt upon whitey, but an attempt to recognize a behavior that is resulting in a lot of dead people from those unterrifying precision bombs.”

Yeah well, people die in war. At one time in the not so distant past, war was waged not only against troops in the field, but also against civilian population centers. The concept of avoiding “civilian” casualties is a fairly new one.

And I am sorry, but regardless of whether there were actually WMD’s or not, Saddam had to go. Of course I am not happy that we might have been misled into waging this war. But it still achieved something very important…getting rid of Saddam. Even if the Iraqis don’t like us, even if they continue to fight amongst themselves when we are gone, getting rid of Saddam was only a good thing for them, no matter how you look at it. Getting rid of a torturing, murdering raping dictator and his scumbag clones some people would call them his sons), can only EVER be a good thing.

Furthermore…I had a Microbiology professor at University of Idaho who was actually a member of one of the inspection teams a few years ago, looking for evidence of WMD’s or facilities to make them. Guess what…!!! They found facilities, ready and waiting to be activated and start making chemical and biological agents. He had the pictures to prove it!! So what makes you think that if Saddam had the facilities, that he didn’t already have the agents??? And how does having the facilities to make the stuff NOT qualify as having WMD’s?

I would submit that having the ABILITY to make NBC agents is close enough. I don’t want to wait until he actually has something to deal with it.

Kinda funny too, how you liberals are all over Bush for not doing anything about Iran in their attempts to get a nuke…but they don’t actually have one yet. SO how can we do anything? Isn’t that what your arguement against the war in Iraq is…that it wasn’t justified because he didn’t have WMD’s? So Iran having the desire to get a nuke is justification enough to do something, but Saddam having the desire to have WMD’s is NOT!!!??? WOW!!! That logic boggles the mind.

-“Blaming the Quran is like blaming the Bible for killing the Native Americans.”

I don’t blame the Quran…I merely mentioned that it does in fact call for the killing of one’s infidel enemies. That fact is not in question…one has only to read it for oneself. It also says that your wife is your property, and that infidels are descended from pigs. Again, I have read the translated verses online…I even took the time to access several different translations so I could verify that they were correct. There is no question that this as what they say.

I fully realize that terrorism as practiced by radical Muslims is fueled by clerics and Imams who choose to take these words literaly, and twist them to mean that it is God’s will to take innocent life in some misguided “Jihad” against the west and Jews. This doesn’t change the fact that the words are there.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 16, 2006 2:53 AM
Comment #175782

curmudgeon—

Thanks…I guess? Are we both on the same page? LOL

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 16, 2006 2:54 AM
Comment #175854

Dave R,

“Islam doesn’t teach tolerance…it teaches hate and the destruction of ones “enemies”, the infidels, whoever and whereever they may be.”

“For crying out loud people…this is a religioin that teaches that your wife is your property, and infidels (especially Jews) are descended from pigs and other animals, therefore not deserving of consideration as human beings!!!! There have even been Islamic leaders on Arab TV who have come right out and said this!!!”

If the above statements don’t smack of bigotry to you, then I give you a bigot. Your understanding of Islam is something to wonder at. Christianity also teaches that slavery is O.K., killing heathens is just and women are to be treated like children. Yet, you conveniently don’t mention these things. You don’t mention the Christians who want to bring on Armageddon because we are near the “end time” or that Hurricane Katrina is a punishment from God. Why do you single out Islam?

I don’t disagree that Fundamental Islam is being used to build hatred of the west.

Why do you think we have a right to Middle East Oil?

Why should we subsidize oil companies?

Why is it less costly to kill American soldiers than become energy independant?

I want to thank you for all your pejorative terms for me, it emphasizes the lack of sensible argument you can muster as well as your rage at the imagined attacks on your myopic self image.

As to ridding the world of Sadamm, which liberal said the world was worse off for that? How many more soldiers should die to rid the world of the rest of the tyrants in the world? Why do you think we are the policeman of the world?

What justifies your pride in American government and your lack of a critical eye for it? You vehemently deny any association with it’s misbehavior and then wallow in it’s good qualities. That kind of provincialism is bigotry in and of itself. It might be fine at the backyard barbeque, but the world finds it moronic.

Posted by: gergle at August 16, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #175859

DaveR-
You have to be careful about the Quran. First and foremost, many websites post passages of Hadith (writings about sayings of the Prophet Muhammed related second hand) interchangeably with those of the Quran. This is a problem because the Hadith is considered secondary, subsidiary, and depending on the source highly variable in dependability. Others post rather unsympathetic translations which misrepresent what is said, and fail to provide context for the verses in question. The Apes and Swine passage which is sometimes bandied about depict God’s punishment of Sabbath-breakers.

It’s good to keep in mind that our New Testament is often critical about Jews and Jewish tradition, and they in return. The Scriptures employed in Judaism themselves are relentlessly self-critical. Their error, though, is not depicted as distinct from the rest of humanity’s.

Liberals are not unaware of things here. The Right has simmered for so long in the juices of its own partisanship that it unfortunately takes seriously what was only propaganda before: that the liberals are going to destroy the country, and have to be fought at every turn.

It’s really getting tiresome, especially with all the spectacular screwups going on with the Republicans. I don’t subscribe to the opinion that Neocons or the Republicans are going to destroy America, but I do think that their actions could spell a decline in American power, which means we would have to fight for what we take for granted now: economic competitiveness, international power, military power sufficient to discourage our enemies. We Democrats and Liberals are generally for preserving America’s advantages.

I know one thing. To do that, people must be at ease with us. That is why I think we should take the emphasis off of saying that this is a fight against radical Islam, and instead focus on the threat they pose to our homes, our families, and our lives. We have to make it clear that this is not some imposition of what we desire of their religion, because that provides those very people the ammunition they need to say that we are fighting against them on religious terms. The more we build the dialogue on their behavior, the more we can aid the portrayal of them as the irresponsible actors provoking conflict and discord. Which they are.

Truth is, there are a world of people who do things, say things, and believe things we would find unconscionable. It’s only when that becomes a threat to us, or to international order do we have good call to attack, and only in terms of the real threat it poses.

It doesn’t matter what your professor friend found years ago. It matters what we found in the aftermath of the war. It was a pre-emptive war, which meant two things: our justification was built on the presence of an immediate threat, and our credibility rode on the line with what we would find and not find. The war was sold to the American public on disarming Saddam. They would not have gone if they knew he had been disarmed already.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 16, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #175903

Hey Adrienne, just heading back to work now.

I love California (have been twice). My first choice would be San Fransisco…I like Santa Barbara too (v. beautiful) but too small. On a rainy day in Dublin…it’s a nice thought.

Of course there’s no place like home. Since I returned from a year in London i’ve been calling Ireland the “auld sod” in hopelessly sentimental way - I’m sure my friends are sick of that one…it’s good to be back! Here’s to being in California for a summer sometime soon, it’s been raining here all week.

Posted by: abhcoide at August 16, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #176017

Stephen—

“It doesn’t matter what your professor friend found years ago. It matters what we found in the aftermath of the war.”

Excuses!!

My professor was there inspecting during the early days of the war…not ten years ago!! He was there when this all began. So it certainly does matter. The indications are that Saddam had the capability to make whatever weapons he wanted to. Just because he hadn’t yet gotten around to it doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have sooner or later.

I can have all the makings of a bomb in my basement or garage, and just because you stop me from actually making one doesn’t mean that I wasn’t going to make one. It just means that I didn’t get the chance. Having the ability, the facilities and the parts to make a bomb pretty much means I have a bomb. All that remains is to assemble it.

Along those same lines, I would like to make the following points.

Liberals and other detractors of the war in Iraq have been constantly harping about how we didn’t find/haven’t found any WMD’s in the three some years we have been there. I would like to ask…just how long do you all think should be enough time to search an ENTIRE COUNTRY…for something (an NBC warhead) which could be as small as a briefcase?

Let me provide some information as to why three years, or even 30 years, could hardly be considered enough time to search an entire country.

Wikipedia lists the total area of the country of Iraq as 437,072 square kilometers. That is approximately 168,754.4 square miles (www.onlineconversion.com). This is about 5,000 square miles LARGER than the area of the state of California, at 163,695.57 square miles (www.shgresources.com).

California has forests and desert areas which contain very few people per square mile. Northern California has vast tracts of very thick, very remote National Forests into which even experienced hikers, backpackers and/or hunters can (and often do) get lost.

In short, I could place a warhead (not even talking about a dorm size freezer with some glass vials) for a rocket or missile in the forests of Northern California, without burying it or even hiding it at all, and it would be difficult if not impossible for you or anyone else to find it without at least some basic clue as to where to begin your search. That is, unless you intend to make a skirmish line across the whole state and walk from one end to the other…even then you couldn’t possibly cover every nook and cranny.

We know for a fact that Saddam buried several Russian jets under the sand at one of the very airbases we ourselves took over and used. Our people walked over them every day and never even suspected that they were there, until some twist of fate (blowing wind scouring off the sand?)revealed enough of one to allow someone to find it. Saddam himself hid in a tiny hole in the ground for days (weeks?) until our military basically just got lucky and stumpled upon him in a routine search. They had no previous intel nor suspicion that he would be there. They had no hint of where to look. Saddam himself is actually bigger than some missile warheads.

So what makes any of you anti-war, no WMD’s found, Bush-lied-he-didn’t-have-them whiners think that Saddamn couldn’t have hidden some (many) nuclear, biological or chemical bombs so well and in such a remote spot that NO ONE, even the all-powerful U.N. inspectors, could ever find them? There could be WMD’s hidden in caves, underground bunkers, tunnels or just plain buried in the sand in hundreds if not thousands of locations and we might never find them if we stayed there until the end of time!!! If I could get lost and never heard from again in the forests of Northern california, Saddam could certainly have hidden WMD’s under the sands of Iraq. Just because they weren’t sitting out in the middle of the courtyard of Saddam’s palace when we arrived doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have them.

I am not trying to say this as some justification for us to remain in Iraq indefinitely…I am not even trying to use this as an excuse for being there even now.

All I am trying to point out is that, given the size of the country, the amount of area in which to hide a WMD and the time Saddam had to do so, the fact that for over ten years after the first Gulf War he routinely prevented U. N. Inspectors from visiting various sites and facilities, and the ingenuity and creativity which one can find within themselves when pressed, the inability of inspection teams and the military to actually locate even one WMD doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t any to find.

I mean c’mon…I can hide fluorescent colored plastic Easter eggs in my back yard for my kids, and even knowing where I put each one, I can often not find them again when I go back after a few months, or even a few days.

And Saddam couldn’t effectively hide some warheads, or even worse VIALS of bio/chem agents…after ten years?? Who are you guys kidding?

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 4:01 AM
Comment #176019

Stephen—

-“The Apes and Swine passage which is sometimes bandied about depict God’s punishment of Sabbath-breakers.”

Funny, I saw no mention of Sabbath breakers in the versions I read. But of course you are probably a scholar of the Quran…a PhD no less…right? So of course I am wrong, or I am too dumb to read it properly. I give up.

-“You have to be careful about the Quran. First and foremost, many websites post passages of Hadith (writings about sayings of the Prophet Muhammed related second hand) interchangeably with those of the Quran.”

Well, believe it or not, I think I am able to tell what I am reading…usually based on the fact that it actually says it is from the Quran and not the Hadith…and maybe also based on the fact that I actually accessed several versions/sources so as to avoid that sort of problem.

But whatever, your goal in bringing this subject up not once but twice, seems to be to indicate that I am wrong by marginalizing my ability to do a little basic research and then bring that knowledge to my writings in this forum.

So I acceed…you are correct. I must have viewed at least 6-7 different versions of the Hadith and none of the Quran…even though each and every site I accessed said it was translation of the Quran, and they ALL said the same thing in translation. But hey what do I know right? Happy now?

BTW—-I watched a video clip on www.memri.org, the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute, of an interview with a Muslim cleric taken from Arab TV, where he clearly stated that the Quran says that the Jews are nothing more than animals, descended from pigs and dogs. I am sure you will claim that was also taken out of context or from the “wrong” translation. Or maybe memri is biased or bigots.

Why do I, or any conservative for that matter, bother to attempt to have a discussion with any of you when you are clearly always right and we are clearly always wrong?

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 4:40 AM
Comment #176021

gergle—

-“What justifies your pride in American government and your lack of a critical eye for it?”

I don’t know…what justifies YOUR continuing criticism of America and American government and YOUR lack of pride in it?

Don’t you find it the least bit hypocritical to speak so vehemently against the very form of government…which allows you the freedom to speak so vehemently against it?

As I have said in former posts here and elsewhere in other threads, maybe you should stop being so critical of the “government” and be critical of the PEOPLE in it!! The government is not the problem, the people in it are. Maybe I have pride in my “government” because I SEPERATE the form of government we enjoy from the bad politicians who serve in it. Or maybe it is because despite all of our problems and all of our difficulties, our government and our people are still the most free, most generous, most willing to help in time of need of any country and any government in the world, bar none. You should know…every time you write on this blog you benefit from that fact.

Where else in the world do you suppose you could be such a vicious little hatred filled whiner and still live to tell about it? England? Maybe. Canada…again maybe. But that is about it. Here’s an idea…since you hate it here so much, why don’t you go live in one of those countries? I would gladly buy you a one way ticket.

You would do well to remember that when you criticize. When the world needs help, who do they turn to? The United States!!! (If we are so vile and horrible, why is that?)

When someone desires more freedoms amd more opportunitites to make more of their lives and the lives of their children, where do they come? The United States!! (Same question applies)

That should say something very profound to you. But I guess you are too busy hating your country to see any of that.

Oh and finally…why can’t you just address and respond to what I said, without resorting to calling me a bigot because I happen to disagree with you? I have very clearly stated in every single post I have made on this thread that I am NOT referring to the majority of peace loving Muslims when I am talking about terrorists.

ONCE AGAIN I WILL SAY (although I am wasting my breath because you will make it into whatever suits you) that I am referring the those handful of extremist, radical nutjobs who twist the Quran to suit their needs and then declare Jihad on all westerners based on those twisted viewpoints. I don’t see how being against people who seek to kill me because I don’t agree with them or their sick version of Islam makes me a bigot. If it does, I would rather be a live bigot than a dead…whatever you are!

It seems to me that whenever you liberals get your little dander up, and you can’t offer a decent response to a conservative post, you always resort to labeling and name calling. I did call you Einstein, and Slick…b/c you took my obviously sarcastic comments and portrayed them as if they were serious, and portrayed me as if I were a dumba— because I made them. You obviously didn’t understand what I was trying to say, so you tried to make me look stupid by giving me an impromptu history lesson which had absolutely no bearing on the point I was trying to make.

Does it make you feel morally superior to be able to put me and other conservatives who disagree with you into a little box and slap a cute little PC label on us? I think it makes you feel like you can ignore us and any discussion/arguement we might make, because after all, who is going to listen to a homophobe, or a bigot, or a nativist? Right? It allows you to marginalize our thoughts and our beliefs, and ignore our input because, in your eyes and the eyes of most of your elitist liberal brethren we are just ignorant, illiterate, uneducated conservative morons who don’t understand the world like you do.

OK, so guess what? You are right. I am a bigot. I think that all religious zealot Muslim nutbags who would kill my wife and my kids in the name of Allah and Jihad should be hunted down and killed first, preferably with lots of pain and agony involved.

I think that the jerks who preach hatred for “infidels”, and who send out their cowardly minions of hatred and evil, and the hate-filled Muslim Jihadists who set off car bombs and blow up innocent little kids, and who crash planes into buildings and kill hundreds of innocent people who were guilty of nothing more than going to work to feed their familes…I think the should be tortured to death and then put on display until the message gets across that we will not tolerate the killing of innocent American women and children and men on our own soil. I think that Americans need to defend their country and their way of life, because it is without a doubt the shining beacon of freedom for millions of people around the world, and without us the Jews would have been exterminated, France would speaking German, the Russians (assuming they didn’t succumb to Hitler) would still be sending people to the Gulag for talking bad about the Motherland, Castro would have bombed Florida, and millions upon millions of disenfranchised, tortured, innocent souls would have perished in their home countries at the hands of people like Stalin and Mussolini and PolPot and Hitler and Saddam and too many other sadistic, barbaric brutal dictators to name, all because there was no America to come to for escape.

Have there been people within the “government” who have done bad things and hurt people? Yes there have. Does that mean that the country and our aysatem of government are themselves bad? Hell no!! Do I love my country and my government? You bet I do.

And if all that makes me a bigot in your elitist hate-filled liberal eyes…then I think I can live with that!!!


DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 5:35 AM
Comment #176025

DaveR,

Thanks for arguing against yourself. I agree you said bigoted things, which you conveniently altered after being challenged on them.

I guess what you mean and what you say are sometimes different, or perhaps it’s just easier to attack those that call you on your rants.

If you can quote where I attacked the American form of government, please do so.

You choose to be uncritical of American Policies irregardless of what they are, I presume. So I hope you’ll refrain from bashing Democratic policy makers. Your love and kindness toward liberal points of view is so endearing, but it fits in well with your previous bigot filled posts.

I am thrilled with the depth of your counter arguments. Love America or leave it. Haven’t heard that since, well, the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and the turn of the century. Next you’ll be telling me to go back to where I came from and how we ought to nuke ‘em to the stone age.

When you catch your breath, perhaps you should read what I wrote, try to grasp it, and then argue with the points I made, rather than insult me. So far you haven’t.

I asked you three specific questions in my last post. Apparently it is too easy to rant about liberals and too difficult to discuss issues. Ill repeat them in an attempt to get you to engage in debate rather than vitriole:

Why do you think we have a right to Middle East Oil?

Why should we subsidize oil companies?

Why is it less costly to kill American soldiers than become energy independant?

Posted by: gergle at August 17, 2006 6:23 AM
Comment #176027

DaveR,

You said:

Have there been people within the “government” who have done bad things and hurt people? Yes there have. Does that mean that the country and our aysatem of government are themselves bad? Hell no!! Do I love my country and my government? You bet I do.

I know you don’t realize this, but you just stated the position of basically every American, be they Liberal, Conservative, Democrat or Republican.

This idea that gets bandied about so often by the right that liberals ‘Hate America’ and blah blah blah is one of the most twisted, unfair instances of character assassination I’ve ever seen.

Liberals point out the faults in our government for many reasons, none of which are because they ‘Hate America’. The first reason is to bring to light abuses, in an attempt to make our country even greater and prevent it from failing to live up to its own ideals; to stop the ‘people within the government who have done bad things and hurt people’. This is much akin to the act of raising a child. If you stepped outside and saw your child attempting to set your pet cat on fire, would you simply allow him to do so? By stopping him, teaching him why what he was doing was wrong and then doling out punishment, does that now somehow mean that you ‘Hate your Child’? No, of course not. In fact, it generally means the opposite.

The second reason is because we liberals are mostly focused on our own country (at least that’s the way I see it anyway). To be overly and constantly focused on other countries and their problems, to be always focused on ‘the other’ is not a healthy policy nor is it a healthy mindset. In another thread on here, the Watchblog writer made a list of negative things he sees going on in America (again, in an attempt to bring them to light in order to stop them, and therefore make America greater than it currently is). The response from the right consisted mainly of ‘Why aren’t you attacking the terrorists? They’re the bad guys!’. We focus on what we can control, ourselves and our own government, and what we can do for Americans to make everyone’s lives better.

Terrorism, while a threat, pales in comparison to most other threats when looked at rationally. You are more likely to be hit by a train than to be killed by a terrorist. There are more things going on than terrorism in the world and in our own backyards. Most of them are infinitely more likely to injure or kill someone you love than a guy in a turban is. Focusing on these other issues does not make us ‘soft on terrorists,’ it makes us sane.

Posted by: Liberal Demon at August 17, 2006 6:38 AM
Comment #176055

Liberal Demon—

-“You are more likely to be hit by a train than
to be killed by a terrorist.”

Tell that to the familes of the 9/11 victims…I am sure they would love to hear your take on their odds of being orphans and widows.

Tell that to the airline passengers who flew in and out of Britain within the last few weeks…I am sure they will be comforted to know that they are more likely to be hit by a train than blown up by those 20 some suspects who were arrested a few days ago.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 9:21 AM
Comment #176064

Liberal Demon—

-“…we liberals are mostly focused on our own country (at least that’s the way I see it anyway). To be overly and constantly focused on other countries and their problems, to be always focused on ‘the other’ is not a healthy policy nor is it a healthy mindset.”

Really?

Somalia?
Bosnia?

Do either of these names ring a bell? How focused were you on these “others” when U. N. peacekeeping forces, including our own soldiers, were being routinely shot at and not allowed to shoot back? How focused on these “others” were you when the bodies of our troops were being paraded through the streets gruesome trophies?

Other countries and their problems?

Like the civil war that we got dragged into in Bosnia because whiny, crybaby liberals who couldn’t stomach the thought that some people actually make war on each other for no good reason, along with the equally liberal United Nations, thought they should intervene and would be able to solve a centuries old conflict between rival Muslim sects whose claim to fame was murdering and burying thousand of civilians in mass graves (Oooops…dom’t want to paint those Muslims as being anything but peaceful…I might be called a bigot)!!

Like the Somalian debacle, where the whining sniveling bleeding heart liberals and United Nations [AGAIN], decided to send American soldiers to insure that aid supplies (the majority of which were provided by that evil nsaty United States) got to the people and not the warlords, but then we made them stand by and wouldn’t let them engage, while the warlords stole the shipments and killed Somalian citizens who got in their way? The same Somalia where Aidid basically made us look like chumps in front of the entire world because the anti-military anti-use-of-force bleeding heart liberals let him and his “peaceful” MUSLIM followers kill and desecrate our fine soldiers and Marines because we couldn’t risk enraging the rest of the world by just EXECUTING the S.O.B.!! Are those some of the “others” you are referring to?

Okay, just checking.

How is being targeted by terrorist organizations from around the globe NOT our problem?

I would submit that to ignore threats to your own safety and the safety of your family and fellow citizens from other countries and other sources is a far less healthy policy and mindset than what you have stated above.

Also I resent the implication that conservatives don’t want to see improvements made to make America greater. Where we differ is in how we believe we should go about it. Unfortunately for you guys (although you won’t admit it), there are far too many cases of liberal “improvements” which have turned into abject failures. That is why conservatives don’t trust you…your well intentioned changes have too often resulted in creating situations which are far worse than they were before you messed with them.


-“In another thread on here, the Watchblog writer made a list of negative things he sees going on in America (again, in an attempt to bring them to light in order to stop them, and therefore make America greater than it currently is).”

Ohhhh…silly me…the old “raising awareness” card. Of course, that is all you are doing. I am such an idiot! You aren’t being overly critical
…you are raising awareness.

Of course I might buy that if, at the same time, you acknowledged the GOOD things about our country, recognized the good things that America has done in the past and present instead of just focusing on the bad. But apparently, much like the attitude of the major news media, good news doesn’t “sell” for the liberals.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 10:03 AM
Comment #176067

DaveR-
With all due respect to your professor, none of the reports I’ve read of indicate a capability like that. Both Kay and Duelfer agree that he really didn’t have facilities left to do much of anything. It begs the question, as well: if this existed, why did Bush not present this as evidence? Why not shut the Democrats up forever?

I find it difficult to reconcile your information with any official report from the Bush administration or from congress on the subject. You don’t tell me the professor, his precise area of expertise, or whether the facilities were considered dual use or not. You don’t say whether inspections thereafter concurred with this groups report, much less tell me who these people came in with.

I don’t like argue or agree with people from ignorance.

In terms of finding the stockpiles, the Right have been terrible offenders. They argue transportation to Syria, which Duelfer said there was no proof of. They argue that there still may be weapons hidden all over the place, since its such a big country. Well, shit, if it’s such a big place, they could have UFOs and Bigfoot hid there, too. There’s a limit to how much credence we should give to points that rely on the human inability to make a thorough search of every square inch of a country or planet.

The difference here is that there are limits to what can reasonably done to hide such weapons, both because Iraq was being watched, and because there are just technical limitations to what was being done. Burying jets beneath a base is one thing. You didn’t have to move them far. The further out in the wilderness they try to hide those weapons, the more of a logistical nightmare it becomes.

What’s more, they would leave a trail of witnesses, inconsistencies, and evidence doing all that. They could still be hidden somewhere, but with any such trail cold to the point of being unnoticeable, it’s unprovable.

I’d just as soon take the words of Mr. Kay and Mr. Duelfer, in that case.

As for MEMRI and the Quran?
First, I don’t know what your several websites are, so I don’t know which ones you picked. Some websites fail to make the proper distinction in their text, with Hadith often labelled similarly to Quranic text. I spent hours looking for a quote one day, assuming that it was Quranic, and found it was Hadith.

The distinction is as crucial as the difference between Paul’s Letters, and the Gospels. Paul could speak of Christ and people who knew Christ. The Evangelists wrote their accounts more than a century after the fact. There are many non-canonical gospels even more remote than that. The more remote one gets, the more fanciful and the more fictional accounts get. The followers of Islam practically founded Textual analysis from their efforts to distinguish the authoritative stuff from the less reliable material.

You rely on sources with very obvious biases. The bias of many hatemongers in the Middle East is obvious. So that’s one level of selectiveness. They won’t emphasize what doesn’t suit their purposes and inclinations, no more than a fundamentalist right-wing preacher holding up a sign saying “God hates Gays” would tend to talk about God’s love for everybody, and his forgiving nature, or a Liberal with a more left-wing, secular agenda would emphasize verses that take a less PC, more supernatural, more exclusive sensbility about the religion.

Then you take that selectivity and pump it through both your own selectivity about the sources, due to your opinion of what’s going on, and MEMRI’s. MEMRI has links to Israeli intelligence and has been accused of being fairly selective in its presentation of the Arab media. Selectivity, of course, is necessary for any intelligent sense to be made of the subjects, but what’s the criteria for what you leave out?

The Bush Administration’s criteria for what got left out and what got left in centered around what they believe was the case. Instead of picking information to test and verify what they believed they knew, they searched for stuff to back them up.

This is how we got into the Iraq war, with so little information to back our play when we actually got there. If what I’m hearing is true, this is how the most startling of the recent terror scares may turn out to have been the mere wailings of a tortured suspect.

When it all becomes about playing hunches and playing your gut, your personal prejudices will warp what you read and what you see.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 17, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #176068

Liberal Demon—

-“There are more things going on than terrorism in the world and in our own backyards. Most of them are infinitely more likely to injure or kill someone you love than a guy in a turban is. Focusing on these other issues does not make us ‘soft on terrorists,’ it makes us sane.”

No, it makes you cowards. Terrorists are nothing more than bullies. Bullies pick on those they perceive as weak and unlikely to fight back. They will continue to pick on the weak until someone stops them. Bullies only understand one thing…force! Once they realize that their “weak” victims will fight back and won’t take any more of their crap, they find another target or give up.

I know whereof I speak. I was bullied in my youth, and only through the judiscious use of force was I able to make it stop. That is how you deal with terrorists.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #176071

DaveR-
First: With Bosnia, and later Kosovo, we won and Slobodan Milosevic lost. It’s not Clinton who died of a heart attack in a jail cell, on trial for war crimes.

Additionally, let me clear something up: the Serbs are Orthodox Christians, for the most part, the Croats Catholic. The Bosnians and Kosovar Albanians were the Muslims. Moreover, though atrocities were committed on all sides, the the Serbs were vicious, and their cruelty compared in scope to Hitler’s and Saddam’s.

Second: Our involvement in Somalia wasn’t initiated by Clinton. Ask Bush 41 what we were doing there. Before you knock the UN further, remember that Bush 41 used it to great effect to win the Gulf War, and to ensure that the costs of the war were not overwhelming.

I think the real question is not whose willing to do anything to defend this nation, it’s whose got the humility and competence to do the right things to defend this country and not mire it in error.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 17, 2006 10:28 AM
Comment #176126

DaveR
Are you aware of terrorism that occurred, perpetrated by the revolutionaries in say, Boston, by our forefathers? Are you saying they were the bullies? Tories were harrassed, stolen from, houses burned, and threatened with death. Were any killed? Probably, but our history doesn’t record or play up those nasty little details.

Terrorism is a technique of poorly armed groups against well armed groups. It is the technique of insurgents against entrenched troops. The CIA has engaged in terrorism worldwide. Are you saying America is cowardly?

I’m not condeming America as you will likely interpret, just pointing out your complete hypocrasy and apparent ignorance of the techniques of war, such as attacking weaknesses of the enemy.

In keeping with Stephen’s theme, whether you call it collateral damage or terrorism by lobbing huge bombs, or whether it’s killing a political figure or blowing up his house all governments and junta’s use these techniques. Euphemisms don’t make people less dead or less terrified. Including America.

The only rule of war there really is, is to win, and make your enemy look bad. Given that, I think most Americans want us to strive for something better. But when it comes to a killing fight, the only rule is to win. That is the predator in all of us.

Posted by: gergle at August 17, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #176138

DaveR-
There were two confrontations that marked my teenage years, and likely stopped the assaults that terrorized me in the earlier. The first, I won a fight one on one with the one person who was willing take me on by themself.

In the other, I did nothing else, but kept my guard up. I didn’t throw one punch back. Unfortunately for him, my opponent chose to do this in a science class, and a teacher caught him while he had me cornered. He was gone for months after that. I’m not sure I ever saw him in that class again.

Before the first fight, I was often attacked in groups, so I was often left having to fend against multiple attackers. I never ended up beaten and bloody on the ground, nor did I ever really run. But it wasn’t a winning strategy. the kids kept bothering me. So I did things one on one when I got the chance, and I won against him. I chose the right battlefield, outside of class. I chose the right battle, one with a person willing to fight me in a way where I had the advantage.

In the second case, I did not choose to fight. I had struck back in times before and ended up paying for it. I had no desire to be punished, so I didn’t fight back. When someone in authority came by, my opponent had no excuse, and no one could honestly say they saw me hitting back. By not fighting in a problematic battlefield, I won, where my opponent lost badly.

The liberal notion of things is picking your fights and picking them well, and not worrying about whether your victories make it on to CNN or get you reelected. You win by any means that work, and you preserve the rule of law, because that can spell a disadvantage for your opponent.

Our claim to righteousness can be important to whether or not we win or lose. We do not win by being no better than our opponent in our actions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 17, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #176199

“Our claim to righteousness can be important to whether or not we win or lose.”

Oh, brother!

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 17, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #176206

Tim Crow-
Oh brother? Let’s take a pop quiz.

Would you:

A)Rather us be respected and revered by other countries?

or

B)Be hated and reviled?

As far as I can see, it gets much trickier to openly cooperate with a power that support torture, that alienates other countries with abrasive rhetoric, which gets abusive, etc.

Why are we making all the fuss about Bush’s foreign policy, if not for the harm it does to our nations reputation, prestige, and finally its defense?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 17, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #176216

Stephen:

“[Would you]Rather us be respected and revered by other countries…”

Frankly, I think ‘revered’ is a bit much to ask for these days, respect (and not just from fear) would be something to look for.

My comment had to do with the choice of word “righteous” in tandem with the idea of ‘win or lose.’ It seems, well, like a high school vision of the world. Simplistic and dangerously so. Much of foreign policy is not a win/lose proposition, and a claim to truth and fair play would, I think, trump rightousness.

Perhaps I’m quibbling with semantics, however.

Posted by: Tim Crow at August 17, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #176232

I am not a religious person, but I consider myself to be moral. Why do I choose morality?

Because that is who I choose to be. That is the world I choose to make. I believe man to be amoral, much like the rest of the animal kingdom. There are no afterlife consequences to deal with. Why not take what you can get away with?

Because, in the end, I have to look in the mirror. The generations that come after me will decide whether I was good or not.

In the end, our children will look to us for values. This is why we should choose righteousness. Which world do you choose?

Posted by: gergle at August 17, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #176245

-“You don’t tell me the professor, his precise area of expertise, or whether the facilities were considered dual use or not.”

I am not going to tell you his name…I wouldn’t do that without his permission. I respect his privacy and wouldn’t reveal personal information about him on an open forum such as this without him being fully aware of it. It has been a few years and I don’t remember it anyway.

I DID tell you his area of expertise…I said he was a Microbiologist. He is a prominent scientist in his field, who has pioneered at least one (that I am aware of) and maybe more groundbreaking research techniques in Microbiology.

I don’t know if it was dual research facility and I don’t see what that has to with anything. So what, because Saddam MIGHT have been able to use this facility to make medicine as well as weapons, that would make having it OK? That’s like saying that I could take my bomb making materials and make 4th of July fireworks from them as well, so it is OK that I have the capability to destroy the Murrow building.

Amazing how you are always looking for an “out”…a way to justify dismissing any idea or thought which disagrees with your pre-conceived notion of the truth, rather than just condemning it for what it is.

-“There’s a limit to how much credence we should give to points that rely on the human inability to make a thorough search of every square inch of a country or planet.”

Why? Because that would weaken your claim that there were no weapons, and strengthen the defense of those who say that they still could be there? It is not an “inability” to make a thorough search…rather that to make a thorough search would take far longer than the amount of time you liberals have allotted…much longer than we have been there so far. Could you do better?

-“Burying jets beneath a base is one thing. You didn’t have to move them far. The further out in the wilderness they try to hide those weapons, the more of a logistical nightmare it becomes.”

Oh I get it…burying an entire JET is easy…burying a BOMB the size of a JET SKI, or a shoebox sized container full of vials or test-tubes, is difficult. Interesting logic…
ridiculous, but interesting all the same.

-“First, I don’t know what your several websites are, so I don’t know which ones you picked. Some websites fail to make the proper distinction in their text, with Hadith often labelled similarly to Quranic text. I spent hours looking for a quote one day, assuming that it was Quranic, and found it was Hadith.”

So once again I ask…are you a Koranic scholar? Because your implication here and in previous posts has been that since YOU PERSONALLY cannot “verify” my sources, then they are probably (likely in your eyes) wrong. I guess you are some kind of world renowned expert…and only sources personally verified by you could possibly be accurate?

-“You rely on sources with very obvious biases. The bias of many hatemongers in the Middle East is obvious. So that’s one level of selectiveness…They won’t emphasize what doesn’t suit their purposes and inclinations,
Then you take that selectivity and pump it through both your own selectivity about the sources, due to your opinion of what’s going on, and MEMRI’s. MEMRI has links to Israeli intelligence and has been accused of being fairly selective in its presentation of the Arab media.”

Being selective doesn’t change the actual content of the footage. However you cut it, selective or not, the footage doesn’t lie.

If some Imam or Muslim scholar in some interview on Arab TV says that the Quran claims Jews are descended from pigs (which he did), the fact that MEMRI “selected” to translate and transcribe that particular piece of video over some other piece doesn’t change the message which that video contains. Selectivity doesn’t alter content.


It has become obvious to me, and becomes more obvious as you continue to respond, that regardless of what source I cite or what information I share, you are determined to find any way possible to discredit it and marginalize it’s validity. Any source which doesn’t agree with your pre-conceived idea of what is
“correct” is automatically biased, and therefore not worthy of consideration.

Another blogger [Mike] from a few days ago shared what he called the Liberal Mantra, as it applies to conservatives. It goes like this. “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts”. You certainly have lived up to this phrase.

There is nothing else to say on this issue.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #176248

Stephen—

-“First: With Bosnia, and later Kosovo, we won and Slobodan Milosevic lost.”

Oh I see…so capturing ONE guy and putting him in jail equals winning the entire war. Of course, I would guess this means that there is no more fighting or hatred there now, and they all live in peace and harmony? Because, after all, Slobodan Milosevic lost.

An even more important point…there are those who claim we are winning in Iraq…yet you liberals are screaming bloody murder about it. According to you we won in Bosnia. So because liberals think we won in Bosnia, we did. Because liberals think we are losing in Iraq, we are. Who made you the final judge of when we are winning and when we are losing? And why were the people of Bosnia more deserving of our “interference” in the internal politics of their country than the people of Iraq?

Claiming that we won in Bosnia while we are losing in Iraq (I am not disputing or supporting that claim, b/c that isn’t the point) simply makes it easier for you to justify our involvement in Bosnia and decry our involvement in Iraq. Naturally you defend those actions which you deem were worthy…well so do the supporters of the effort in Iraq. Some people do see the war there as a worthy effort with an equally worthy goal.

It is really a matter of priorities. In Bosnia you libs had your priorities…to stop those nasty people from killing each other in a CIVIL WAR (kinda like Iraq in that regard huh?)!! In Iraq, we have our priorities…to rid the country of a murderous, savage unstable dictator and give the Iraqi people a chance to taste true freedom. Sounds like an issue of semantics really.

-“Our involvement in Somalia wasn’t initiated by Clinton.”

Actually, I never said it was. What I said was that “bleeding heart liberals” got us into Somalia. I find it quite interesting that when I used that phrase, YOU automatically thought of Billy.

Daver

Posted by: DaveR at August 17, 2006 11:54 PM
Comment #176252

-“Terrorism is a technique of poorly armed groups against well armed groups. It is the technique of insurgents against entrenched troops. The CIA has engaged in terrorism worldwide. Are you saying America is cowardly?”

The CIA qualifies as a “poorly armed group”?

And how does the actions of the CIA equal making the USA cowardly? I never made that connection between terrorists and the nations they are from. Terrorists are often active in countries where the government itself does not support them but is also powerless to get rid of them.

I do not hold the nation of Lebanon responsible for the actions of Hezbollah. I don’t hold the entire population of Iraq responsibile for the actions of the insurgents. I do not hold the entire United States government or people responsible for the actions of a clandestine agency (which by its very nature as a clandestine agency will do things secretly which we cannot possibly control or even be aware of).

-“I’m not condeming America as you will likely interpret, just pointing out your complete hypocrasy and apparent ignorance of the techniques of war, such as attacking weaknesses of the enemy.”

So when terrorists train for and execute a coldly planned attack against the “weaknesses of the enemy”, such as crashing airliners full of innocent unarmed civilians into buildings full of more innocent unarmed men, women and children, they are just utilizing the techniques of war? When Jihadists blow up cafes of coffee sipping American tourists, they are just uutilizing the techniques of war? When Islamic radicals execute and then dump the body of a wheelchair bound man into the sea, they are just utilizing the techniques of war? But when American soldiers and Marines, in the heat of combat, kill unarmed Iraqi citizens, they are guilty of murder?

Thank you for clearing that up for me. That one paragraph illustrates better than any other your utter contempt for the dedicated service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform while also revealing your true feelings of support for the poor misunderstood terrorists.

I get it now. The exercise of military might in a declared war is bad…the cold blooded execution of innocent women and children in a cowardly attack with a car bomb is good. Military bad, terrorist good.

And no, I am not ignorant about the techniques of war as you put it. I spent 3 years in the United States Army, five and a half in the National Guard; and 2 in the ROTC, studying military history and tactics. I probably own more books on military tactics and warfare alone than all the books you own together. So what branch did you say you served in, where you got your outstanding[ly bad] training in military tactics and techniques??

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 18, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #176267

DaveR,

So then, what you’re saying is that life isn’t universally precious? That if someone is killed or injured by terrorists then their pain is somehow more real and important than someone who is killed through other means? Killing is killing whether it’s done for duty, profit or fun. At the end of the day a dead child is just that, a dead child, a waste of something precious.

Over 100,000 people die in this country every year due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs. 3,000 people have died in the last five years due to terrorism. Which one are you more afraid of: 500,000 total deaths in five years, or 3,000? Is that a rational fear, one worth our constant attention, manpower and treasure? Oh, wait, I forgot, lives have differing values depending on the method of execution.

Why don’t you go tell that to the people who were killed by Merck? I’m sure they love hearing the deaths of their loved ones being minimized and justified and I also bet that they love seeing that legislation was proposed to grant immunity to all drug makers from lawsuits. Due to the suppression of data regarding Vioxx, a minimum of 25,000 people died (yes, that’s close to the ten times the number on 9/11), but I guess it’s okay for corporations to do it as long as they’re not ‘terrorists.’

Not sure why you brought up Bosnia and Somalia; last time I checked it was 2006, not 1991 or 1998. I’m sorry, but the ‘you guys did it too’ response just doesn’t hold water as it doesn’t assuage your own guilt in any way. Defending policies by attacking those of others who aren’t even in power anymore is just the last stand in the defense of the indefensible. Besides, I don’t remember even sharing my own views of those particular endeavors, so I can’t really figure out why you brought them up and then proceeded to assume my position on them.

How is being targeted by terrorist organizations from around the globe NOT our problem?

No one has ever said that terrorists targeting us is “not our problem.” We simply believe that we should go after those who actually attacked us. I do not subscribe to the fuzzy math that 30,000 dead Iraqi civilians somehow equal one dead six foot tall Saudi Arabian. I guess what you guys lack in precision you make up for in numbers.

I would submit that to ignore threats to your own safety and the safety of your family and fellow citizens from other countries and other sources is a far less healthy policy and mindset than what you have stated above.

Yes, I would say the same to you. The problem is that, while we believe that our focus should be on both domestic and foreign problems, the current administration is only focused on the latter; one year later and New Orleans is still a rank cesspool, but $300,000,000,000 for Iraqis is a more appropriate use of our funds and manpower.

Of course I might buy that if, at the same time, you acknowledged the GOOD things about our country, recognized the good things that America has done in the past and present instead of just focusing on the bad.

This is a really strange argument. By the same logic I could tell you that you had to, before saying anything bad about anyone or anything, please praise their good qualities first. I won’t, because that would be silly, but still I was not aware that this was a marriage here, where for everything bad you say about your partner, you must first expound on their positive qualities. I really didn’t realize that America was so fragile, delicate and insecure that we must avoid hurting her feelings.

No, it makes you cowards.

Now this is just sad…”Cowards?” Do you want to know what cowardly is? Cowardly is hiding behind your underlings and claiming ‘bad intelligence,’ rather than just owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility (The Buck Stops Here). Cowardly is denying these mistakes and not simply recognizing and apologizing to the American people for them. Cowardly is being blithely willing to trade your liberties for safety; and most of all it is willing to accept leaders who, rather than espouse that “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” now tell the populace to “Be afraid, be very afraid.”

So, wanting to pursue those who actually attacked us is cowardly? I’m dizzy from all the spinning behind this logic. By and large, Liberals were right behind this administration when we invaded Afghanistan (remember that one? The pre-preemptive invasion?). The problem arose however when we basically abandoned that cause and placed our focus elsewhere. Were that country and those people not worthy of 135,000 troops and 300 billion dollars? I’m fairly certain that such a force would have made capturing Osama Bin Laden and his cronies that much easier (well, actually possible). You think that doesn’t show weakness? The mastermind behind the deaths of 3,000 Americans still walking around free, laughing at us in our bluster and error; the worst foreign attack in this nation’s history, and we allowed the people responsible to get away with it! If that doesn’t embolden our enemies, I don’t know what would (oh yeah, it’s us liberals with our ‘newspapers,’ our ‘disagreements on policy’ and our ‘rule of law’).

Prudent force is justified, but the key word there is the first one, not the second. Yes, we could eliminate most of the current crop of terrorists by simply bombing everyone in the Middle East back to the Stone Age (it actually wouldn’t take very many bombs to do that one), but doing so would only create more of them in the long run. People get upset when you kill their neighbors and their families.

It’s pretty simple, if our country were to be suddenly invaded by Sweden, who began building bases and acted like they knew what was best for us, I think we (and you) would be fairly upset. If you could walk outside and point to homes and other buildings (not to mention humans) that were destroyed due to these dastardly Swedish bombs, you wouldn’t be as quick to promote regime change abroad and war for the vague promises of peace and democracy, no matter the intentions of the Swedish occupiers. It’s really all a matter of perspective, and looking only through the myopic worldview of the world’s only superpower can leave one mostly blind. If your wife or child was seriously maimed by shrapnel from a bomb that was targeting someone else, I don’t think you’d simply brush that off because the intentions behind that bombing were good. Looking at your son or daughter, with a stump where one of their limbs once protruded, day after day, would not engender love or even tolerance of those who were responsible.

Besides, these people aren’t exposed to the great things that America has to offer, because they are, after all, there, not here. Most of what they see of America is guns, bullets, destruction and dead children; not exactly the way to convince someone that our way is better. You can’t bomb people into loving or respecting you or your way of life.

In the end, it seems that most on the right are unwilling or unable to separate the government from the country. One can love the ideals set forth in our Constitution, be willing to die for them even, while at the same time vehemently disagree with those who currently wield the power it provides. Their is a huge difference between America does and what America is; between allegience to one’s country and allegience to the men who run it. To ignore this difference is to allow our leaders free reign and hand over to them a roadmap to tyranny.

Posted by: Liberal Demon at August 18, 2006 6:10 AM
Comment #176271

Liberal Demon—

—“That if someone is killed or injured by terrorists then their pain is somehow more real and important than someone who is killed through other means?”

If that someone [who is killed through other means] is an enemy combatant or terrorist who is killed in a war through the exercise of military force vs an innocent non-combatant who was killed by a slimy cowardly terrorist who hijacks planes and flies them into buildings…then yes their pain is less real and less important. I don’t give a damn about the suffering of some Jihadist a—hole who is responsibile for killing 1,000’s of innocents in some misguided attempt to earn himself a place in heaven.

Innocent people being killed versus guilty terrorists being killed…yes the terrorist had it coming and so therefore his life is not as important as the child who did nothing wrong, was just in the wrong building at the wrong time on 9/11.

And don’t change the subject…the loss of life from bad prescription meds has absolutely nothing to do with the actions of a handful of nutcase Muslim fanatics on an airplane over NY. You are not even comparing apples to oranges with this example. You are trying to compare apples to pocket lint.

—“Besides, I don’t remember even sharing my own views of those particular endeavors, so I can’t really figure out why you brought them up and then proceeded to assume my position on them.”

re:Bosnia and Somalia

Do you actually go back and read the previous posts before you go off on a rant…the Bosnia/Somalia thing was in response to comments you made about how you liberals are focused on our country and not on what is happening in other countries. I was merely pointing out a few glaring examples of liberal led/supported efforts to get involved in the affairs of other countries when it has supported your agenda. It is a little difficult not to go back into history for an example because…you aren’t in charge right now, so I can’t very well use a recent example now can I!! Besides which, as I have seen in other posts in other topics, this is a technique you libs have perfected where no one is allowed to second guess your involvement in historical actions but you are allowed to second guess the historical actions of others (Do as I say, not as I do).

Liberal Mantra for conservatives as revealed by blogger Mike: “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts”.

And why is it that when making my case I cannot introduce new comments or examples into the conversation? Since when do I have to limit myself to some arbitrary list of topics/issues/materials which you deem acceptable for discussion?

I thought this was an opinion based forum…I was stating my opinion. If you can’t handle it, if you can’t discuss your position on an issue which includes examples of stuff you would rather not deal with, then stay out of the conversation.


—You said-“In the end, it seems that most on the right are unwilling or unable to separate the government from the country. One can love the ideals set forth in our Constitution, be willing to die for them even, while at the same time vehemently disagree with those who currently wield the power it provides. Their is a huge difference between America does and what America is; between allegience to one’s country and allegience to the men who run it. To ignore this difference is to allow our leaders free reign and hand over to them a roadmap to tyranny.”

I said- (from a previous post in this thread) “As I have said in former posts here and elsewhere in other threads, maybe you should stop being so critical of the “government” and be critical of the PEOPLE in it!! The government is not the problem, the people in it are. Maybe I have pride in my “government” because I SEPERATE the form of government we enjoy from the bad politicians who serve in it.”

What did you do, just cut and paste my own comments to use against me?

Maybe you should take some time to CAREFULLY read ALL of the responses under a thread before you comment on any of them. I do. Maybe then you won’t plagarize someone else’s words and ideas for you own use.

-You said (previously)“There are more things going on than terrorism in the world and in our own backyards. Most of them are infinitely more likely to injure or kill someone you love than a guy in a turban is. Focusing on these other issues does not make us ⦣x20AC;˜soft on terrorists,⦣x20AC;™ it makes us sane.”

I said—“No, it makes you cowards. Terrorists are nothing more than bullies. Bullies pick on those they perceive as weak and unlikely to fight back. They will continue to pick on the weak until someone stops them. Bullies only understand one thing…force! Once they realize that their “weak” victims will fight back and won’t take any more of their crap, they find another target or give up.”

Then you said—“So, wanting to pursue those who actually attacked us is cowardly?”

Nope…I didn’t say you were a coward for wanting to chase the perpetrators of 9/11…I said you were a coward for NOT wanting to…because there were “more important things” in the world as you put it, than chasing terrorists.

So which is it…are there more [important] things going on in the world than terrorism…or is wanting to pursue the terrorists important? Are you focusing on other issues, or are you pursuing those who attacked us? You keep flip flopping back and forth between chasing terrorists IS IMPORTANT to THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS than chasing terrorists.

Maybe you should read YOUR OWN POSTS before you respond…you can’t seem to keep your position on anything straight in your own mind.

Are you taking your meds? Maybe that would help you concentrate better…your ADHD seems to be kicking up a little.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 18, 2006 8:24 AM
Comment #176288

Dave R-
Let’s say your microbiologist professor walked into a chemical facility. Would he know the difference between one designed for production nerve gas, and one built for the production of fertilizer? Let’s say he walks into a biological facility. Does he have any experience with the techniques and technology involved in the weaponizing these agents?

These questions are actually not an easy out, at least not for me. They are an easy out for you. All you have to do is answer those satisfactorily, and you’ve got the point. If your point about him is valid and sound, then you should have no problem with that.

If not, then I have a right to be skeptical, especially in the light of overall inspections reports by David Kay and Charles Duelfer.

On my point concerning finding the weapons, two things work against the permanence of their hidden status: First and foremost, somebody would want to find them again. Second, not every place in Iraq is equally likely as a hiding place. Burying Jets on a base where they could have been likely set down is easy. You don’t have to pack the thing and move it cross country. Remember, also, we’re not talking about individual bombs. According to Bush Supporters like yourself, your argument is for stockpiles to have gone missing this way, and that limits the extent to which these things stay lost. People will remember and record big shipments. If they decide to break up things piecemeal, it will give away the presence of weapons by more or less making the trips regular enough to catch on Sattelite surveillance. You could follow the path beaten to the WMDs doorstep. Barring that, it’s ultimately a matter of infrastructure. Not everything is equally likely. Just look at any road map, and how the communities cluster. It takes resources to move huge stockpiles, and not every place is going to have equal resources to assist in the hiding of them.

On the subject of your sources on the Quran, I have no idea, because you haven’t provided any. I raised a perfectly good objection, but you have decided I have to be a scholar to find out such mistakes. No, I just had to find the quote, after everything was said and done, under Hadith, rather than Quran. Knowing the difference from previous readings I had done, It seems a perfectly reasonable argument, especially since you haven’t cleared up your sources. How can we debate our mutual Quranic knowledge, if you won’t even volunteer the scriptures in question?

Selectivity can change the emphasis on content, for your information. I’m a writer and trained in the media profession. I know damn well what selectivity can do to content: it can choose some and leave other content behind, altering the shape of the big picture.

MEMRI can choose to translate and distribute mainly inflammatory material to those who want fuel for the fire. There could be ten cleric making moderate or valid points, but if you select for the one cleric who cries Death to America, and provide people with little else than that, you’ll skew people’s perspectives.

This is also the principle by which the logic of your “liberal media” bias works, supposedly. If the folks from the New York Times can allegedly victimize you folks by selective reporting…

There’s plenty more to say on these issues if you’re willing to lay off of the liberal-bashing and face us with evidence.

On the subject of Bosnia, you talked about rival Muslim sects. I presented you with the facts: the conflict was mostly between different religions, not with in the same ones.

On the subject of the Somalian Debacle, there really was no excuse for that. You can talk about bleeding heart liberals having done this, but this was started by an administration that was anything but, and after the Battle of Mogadishu, the rules of engagement became significantly more hard edged (posting snipers on the walls of our base with shoot to kill orders). We could have retaliated, but that would not have made things better, since we were there on a humanitarian mission. Flattening Mogadishu wouldn’t have been sound thinking along those lines. It was a bad employment of our military forces.

As for being targeted by terrorist organizations, you should go back through the archives and read my work. If you think this liberal is lacking in concern about that, you’re sadly mistaken.

Fact is, Bosnia is now at peace. Who knows how long it remains that way. But it’s not in open revolt like Iraq is, and we’re mostly out of there now.

As far as Iraq goes, the problem is, that while people may get to taste true freedom, the collapse of the state your policy engenders may end up meaning that a taste is all they get.

There’s more to fighting wars than just slaying dragons. The Conservatives have forgotten that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2006 9:41 AM
Comment #176306

Stephen,
It’s easy to slay dragons from a computer keyboard.I get the feeling some right wing nut cases have played a few too many computer mega death games and have the same cavalier attitude about war, which they watch on Fox from their Barca Lounges.

Hard to argue with someone with those kind of blinders on.

Posted by: gergle at August 18, 2006 11:13 AM
Comment #176326

Gergle-
I aim to convince my opponents if I can, but open-minded readers at all times. Also, I believe if we leave folks to such stubborn beliefs, we both lose opportunities to convince people of things, and we yield ideological territory to our opponents without dispute.

Look at the military issues. Because Democrats became so anti-war in the seventies and eighties, it limited our ability to discuss the matters practically. The practical discussions became one-sided, and the policy discussion, especially about rules of engagement became unrealistic on both sides.

In many ways, this is why we’re in the situation we are now, stuck between an unrealistic anti-war background and the our opponents useless war mongering.

Democrats must ask themselves the following questions: What am I will to die for? What am I willing to kill for? I think Democrats should enlist, and become a greater part of the volunteer army. It is not good for the armed forces and the people to be at odds politically. They should reflect each other. How do we put to a stop years of alienation of the public from the wars that are fought?

Ultimately, because this is a Democracy, it is not good for soldiers to become the hired help of a nation unwilling to properly consider the policy it makes, or the price those policies exact on the ones asked to fight.

We have to be in the room on these discussions. We cannot be inhibited by signs the GOP gives that this, that, or the other issue are their territory. Bull. The issues belong to everybody equally, who are willing to engage on the matters at hand.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 18, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #176340

Stephen—

-“Let’s say your microbiologist professor walked into a chemical facility. Would he know the difference between one designed for production nerve gas, and one built for the production of fertilizer? Let’s say he walks into a biological facility. Does he have any experience with the techniques and technology involved in the weaponizing these agents?”

I don’t know him that well Stephen…we aren’t driking buddies. But being an accomplished and published PhD-holding professor/teacher with years of experience under his belt, my gut feeling is…YES, to both questions…and I am sure he knows WAY more than you do!

SO again, why do you continue to question the observations of the man who was there and attempt to discredit his information at every turn? Are you afraid that he might be right? I guess next you will try to claim that he faked the pics and lied about being a member of the insepction team.


-“Selectivity can change the emphasis on content, for your information. I’m a writer and trained in the media profession. I know damn well what selectivity can do to content: it can choose some and leave other content behind, altering the shape of the big picture.”

I certainly recognize that EMPHASIS can be changed…but CONTENT cannot. It is what it is.

Let me rephrase your comment and lets see what you think then.

-“There could be one cleric who cries Death to America, but if you select for the ten cleric[s] making moderate or valid points, and provide people with little else than that, you’ll skew people’s perspectives.”

Hhhhmmmmm…works that way too. How about that!!

The point is, regardless of what content you choose to emphasize, the content itself remains unchanged. As a person trained in the media profession as you claim…surely you realize that?! You seem to be resorting to that age old liberal arguement for “fairness”, which no watchdog organization has an obligation to provide. In fact, the very goal of a watchdog organization like MEMRI is to PURPOSELY be biased…they exist specifically to track their chosen “targets” with the intent to illuminate and reveal their true intentions.

Accusing them of being biased is actually a compliment. It indicates that they are in fact doing exactly what they set out to do!!

Would you expect the NAACP to focus their attentions on being ‘fair’ to whites at the expense of the blacks they represent? Would you expect the Jewish Anti Defamation League to be ‘fair’ to the Nazis? So why do you expect MEMRI to be ‘fair’ to radical Muslims and terrorists?

Even our own mainstream media doesn’t report things “fairly”. They select those stories which they deem newsworthy and ignore the rest, thus altering the message that we as the end user receive. But you reserve your skepticism for groups like MEMRI while giving a free pass to the mainstream media.

What does it say about your objectivity (or lack thereof) when you choose to act as if the only media organizations who “alter the shape of the big picture” are those YOU don’t like??

If you truly seek to get the ‘big picture’, isn’t it better to have organizations like MEMRI who, regardless of their perceived bias, help to focus attention onto materials which might otherwise be overlooked by the equally biased mainstream media?

Of course MEMRI probably has an agenda…to make available all the video, audio and written material that the “fair” mainstream media choose to ignore and the terrorists and their supporters don’t want westerners to see.

I fail to see how having access to ALL sides of the story is a bad thing.

DaveR

Posted by: Daver at August 18, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #176342

Stephen

-“…but you have decided I have to be a scholar to find out such mistakes…How can we debate our mutual Quranic knowledge, if you won’t even volunteer the scriptures in question?”

First of all, I was just surfing and I didn’t copy down the quotes and the sources in anticipation of having to “defend” my ability to read something for myself and understand what I had read, or to defend the validity of my sources.

Secondly, your IMPLICATION all along has been that because (as you claim) there are places where the Hadith is misrepresented as the Quran, and because YOU PERSONALLY have not “verified” my sources, then I am obviously wrong, and will continue to be wrong until such time as I allow YOU to “verify” my information.

Furthermore, your efforts have been aimed at discrediting any sources and information I did provide as being the wrong ones, biased etc.

I didn’t decide that you HAD to be scholar…I was simply inquiring about what made you think that you were such an authority that I had to accede to your personal scrutiny of my sources and receive your blessing before I could consider my information good. Obviously you think your ability to analyze and interpret information far exceeds mine and I should be willing to submit to your supreme authority rather than my own ability to research something for myself.

Perhaps instead of insinuating that I am an idiot and incapable of performing the research for myself, you could have OFFERED your assistance in finding what you would consider the proper locations to read the Quran, thereby avoiding the appearance that you considered your skills, education and intelligence to be superior to mine, and that I was therefore in need of your intervention to become properly enlightened.


-“There’s plenty more to say on these issues if you’re willing to lay off of the liberal-bashing and face us with evidence.”

Maybe so…but that is what I like about blogging. I don’t have to “face you with evidence”. Check the “Rules for Participation”. Its not a courtroom and the participants don’t have to be sworn in before they’re allowed to participate (although I just bet you would prefer it that way).

Its an OPINION forum…I can state my opinion and thoughts and ideas and never need to present even one shred of “evidence” to back it up.

Sorry ‘bout your luck.

DaveR

Posted by: Daver at August 18, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #176343

Stephen—

All arguements aside…if you really think that I was somehow misled or misinformed, I would certainly welcome any offer of assistance you would care to extend.

I am not above taking help…I just get a little touchy when I think that someone is implying that I am wrong for no reason other than that “they” claim to have the right information.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at August 18, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #176379

DaveR,

Apparently you completely misconstrued the comparison I was trying to make; perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough for you. What I was saying is that I believe that innocent life is innocent life is innocent life; I was not in any way comparing innocents to murderers, even though you tried to frame my argument that way.

If 3,000 Americans are killed by terrorists, we should hunt down those responsible until we have caught and punished them, not go off on some crusading nation building exercise. At the same time however, if 100,000 people are killed by our own people (or corporations) we should also go after those responsible, not do what the current Republicans in power did, which was to propose legislation which would have granted immunity from litigation to these guilty parties. In one instance, the Republicans value life and in the other, they don’t (and actually sought to reward the killers). This is not ‘apples and pocket lint,’ as I was comparing two groups of people who are responsible for the deaths of innocent Americans, their death tolls, and our current administration’s response to them.

Regarding Bosnia and Somalia: please reread what I said regarding this Liberal’s viewpoint on domestic vs. foreign policies (which you quoted part of). You will clearly see that I stated (in parentheses) “At least that’s the way I see it anyway.” Yes, I do honestly believe that America’s focus should be firstly on America. This does not in any way preclude foreign relations or endeavors, but does supersede them in most instances. You can bring these things up all you want in an effort to change the subject, I don’t really care, but I don’t see how bringing up past grievances in an attempt to attack Democrats and obfuscate the topic at hand and a discussion of current events was just ‘sharing your opinion.’ Besides, you seem to have mistaken this Liberal for a Democrat and many of your attacks on what you think are my positions have instead been on your own preconceived notions of what Liberals believe, rather than on what I am actually saying. Are you debating with my comments or with others in this thread and elsewhere?

What did you do, just cut and paste my own comments to use against me

Um…I didn’t steal what you said, not at all. First you attack me for not reading your posts, and then accuse me of plagiarizing them. You seem to equate government with country. You say to criticize the people, but not the government, which are one and the same at any given time. What I said was that there is a difference between country and government. None of us are criticizing the Constitution, the rule of law or our liberties (the country). We are criticizing governmental policies and the ideologies and actions of the people who are creating them. If we agree on these distinctions, then that’s all well and good; accusations of plagiarism aren’t really needed and only detract from your position.

I said you were a coward for NOT wanting to

No one on the left has ever said that we shouldn’t pursue those who attacked us, so calling us cowards for something we’ve never said is pretty disingenuous. In reality, we were upset when the pursuit of those who attacked us was downplayed in order to go do something else entirely.

So which is it…are there more [important] things going on in the world than terrorism…or is wanting to pursue the terrorists important? Are you focusing on other issues, or are you pursuing those who attacked us?

Those are both false questions, as they seek to limit the choices into either ‘most important and requires our complete attention at all times’ or ‘not important at all and should be ignored’.

It all comes down to degrees of importance, of priorities. Yes, there are more important things in this world than terrorists; if we center our entire lives and all of our energies on terrorists, if we fear them, then they have already won. The key words here are ‘more important.’ Somehow you don’t seem to be grasping that things of lesser importance are still important and need to get done. Catching the people who attacked us is important (to some of us anyway, apparently many Republicans don’t really care about this), but stopping instances where more people are dead and dying is more important (because the threat to our lives and our families is greater). They are both important to varying degrees, and I never said that they weren’t.

Is this basic concept really so hard to understand that you felt the need to respond with critiques of the messenger (ADHD comments) and accusations of being inconsistent?

Posted by: Liberal Demon at August 18, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #176427

DaveR-
As long as a gut feeling is all we have to go on with my questions, I will stick with the Kay and Duelfer reports.

I don’t know this man’s specific field of expertise. I don’t know whether he’s just an expert in a particular organism or set of organisms, or instead a man experienced in the military use of them. Fields of expertise are legitimate matters for discussion in these cases.

I want to know just what this guy was in the business of knowing. Did he do a lot of work with bio-weapons, or was his training and/or experience centered more on doing things like testing for different strains, genetic typing, or other stuff like that. I’m familiar enough with science to know that people can get that specialized.

I can look at a bunch of equipment and offer my opinion about what it is, but whether I’m apt to get it right depends much on my education and field of expertise.

I don’t believed he faked it. I believe he might not have had the expertise to distinguish one from the other, or to understand why having such equipment did not constitute proof of the breach of UN resolutions on the matter.

My field of expertise can aid me in answering your next question. You see, I was taught more than just equipment. I was taught how to communicate by it. One of the first rules taught to me was the Camera always lies.

Have you ever videotaped an exciting event, and then found the movie that resulted to be an utterly boring piece of work? You would think the content would come through, but the reality is, your own mind both skipped over the irrelevant material, and brought a charge of mood into events. The videotape’s material is not content neutral. If you’re lucky, you or a professional on hand can edit out the dead space to emphasize the highlights, to bring the true feel of the event, even as you remove much of what truly happened.

What if some butcher came along, though, and decided only to edit together the lows of the event? It would effect the content’s meaning, and more importantly, it would shape the message that the meaning composed about the event (happy happy joy joy) into something it was not.

Most events are more complex, so there’s room for interpretation, but the problem can come when people embrace a certain sense of bias, and a need to edit incoming content to reflect that

You try and turn my example on me, but you neglect one important thing: it is a far greater alteration to edit out the ten moderate clerics than to leave out the one. I think if you look at news right now, the moderates are getting shortsheeted much more than the radicals. The radicals are getting the mentions, the publicity, while the moderates are left by themselves. If we want a truer picture, going the opposite direction from MEMRI is necessary, to a certain extent.

I think the trouble with your way of looking at bias is that you are willing to embrace it having criticized in another. I want to counter the effects of bias as much as it takes to get to the truth as a whole, because I know that the truth in part, so long as that’s all I seek, is no truth at all. The true path to correcting for bias is critical thinking and the recognition of the imperfection of all content distribution in the media. Any other approach only serves to put you deeper into an illusion, not carry you out of it.

MEMRI purports to deliver the truth of what is going on in the Arab media. If all it presents are negatives, extremists and other things, it’s selectivity could lead its viewers to assume things about the region that are not true, and worse, fail to learn about opportunities that less skewed coverage might bring.

An example of such balanced Reporting would be George Packer’s The Assassins’ Gate. This book does not spare the Administration on its screwups. In fact, it’s one of the most detailed accounts of them, and is unsparing in its presentation of what that’s meant for the Iraqis. What it does, though, is bring to light the issues of why partition wouldn’t work, of the support for Democracy and free government, and other things.

Now, he could have spent page after page presenting a negative case based on one horrific story after another, or a positive case based on one school opening or post saddam success story after another, but both would be propaganda and add little in terms of real meaning to the discussion. George Packer’s book, though, presents us with an integrated narrative that forgoes the selectivity of advocacy for the selectivity of salience and accuracy.

MEMRI should not be stacking the cards if it wishes to get the real story across. That only serves to distort its picture and invite charges of propagandizing. There’s no problem with having access to many sides of the story. There is a problem, though, to obsessively and selectively following only one thread of imperfect meaning through a complex landscape of stories that could illuminate more of the truth.

As far as Quranic scholarship goes, I do want to verify your sources. Given the nature of this site, if you wade into an argument making claims such as yours, you should expect somebody to ask you to put your cards on the table. I’m not asking you to do anything I haven’t done myself.

There’s nothing wrong in a debate like this with asking somebody for information to back up their claims. That’s your chance to shine, to show the foundations of your point were solid. I’m sure you can find the information on your own. I seek out a lot of that myself.

As for this being an opinion forum: Yes, that’s true. However, it’s an opinion forum with an intense amount of debate going on, and people on a number of sides who are skeptical. If you want to make believers of others, more care should be taken in crafting arguments.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #176441

I guess DaveR is a bit too scared to debate me, oh well.

I guess I have a tendency to use the same techniques that are used against me and some fear having their own rhetoric used against them.

That, and I called him on his bigotry.:)

Posted by: gergle at August 19, 2006 10:31 AM
Post a comment